The BJP today mounted attack on Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul, questioning their “silence” over a claim in a media report that Robert Vadra had “links” with fugitive arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari. While Vadra did not react to the media report, Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said Prime Minister Narendra Modi could get “any investigation” done into any allegations against the party chief’s son-in-law to find out if there was any “wrong doing”. The BJP fielded Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to attack the Congress leadership over the media report which claimed that Vadra had “links” with Bhandari who had even booked tickets for Vadra for an overseas visit in 2012. Sitharaman, while addressing a press conference in Delhi, asked, “Why senior leadership of the Congress, including Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, is keeping a studied silence?” She said the silence of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul will be construed as acceptance of charges against Vadra.
Citing the media report, Sitharaman alleged that a London house linked to Vadra was refurbished by Bhandari, who also made arrangements for his travel abroad. She also claimed that an amount of 7.5 lakh Swiss franc was deposited in a bank account of Bhandari and asked if there was a connection between this and the money spent on refurbishing the London house linked to Vadra. The minister, citing the media report, alleged that there were at least three transactions between them with “serious financial implications”.
Referring to Rahul Gandhi’s frequent tweets, the minister wondered why he was keeping silent on this matter. Asked what the CBI was doing as it was investigating Bhandari, she said this question should be put to the agency. The government is taking all steps to bring the absconding arms dealer back to India to face law, she added. Party spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said, “If you believe that Vadra is innocent, then why not file a defamation suit?… the silence shows guilt.”
In Gandhinagar, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and state BJP chief Jitu Vaghani addressed a joint press conference, asking Rahul Gandhi to break his silence on the issue. Rupani alleged that Vadra has emerged as the “face of crony economy”. “Of late, Rahul Gandhi has become very active on social media. He is also visiting Gujarat more often. But, why is he silent on this issue? Why even Gujarat Congress leaders are silent? Rahul Gandhi must tender an explanation about Vadra’s links with an arms dealer,” said the chief minister.
Vadra, while not reacting to the allegation, put out a philosophical message. “Good Morning, I am capable, I am strong. If I believe in myself, I can turn my dreams into a plan, and my plan into my reality,” said a quote on his Facebook post along with his photograph and a few horses running by a sea. Surjewala, while addressing a press conference in Bengaluru, said Vadra has been going through “witch-hunting” for the last 41 months. “As far as any allegations against Robert Vadra are concerned, we will only say, Modiji has been in power for 41 months.
“They have a government in Haryana and Rajasthan, and by all means, conduct any investigation that you choose, and come to a conclusion through a free and fair process of law of any wrong doing,” the Congress spokesman said.
He said in “witch-hunting” of 41 months and multiple commissions of inquiries, the BJP has not arrived at a single conclusion of violation of any law, rule or regulation, either in Haryana and Rajasthan. “Allegations were levelled in these two states, based on which they came to power,” the Congress spokesman added.