New Delhi: Rejecting the attack on Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi by former environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan as being “malicious” and driven by “ulterior motives”, party spokesman Anand Sharma today raked up corruption allegations against her.
Questioning her delayed resignation from Congress and the claims that Gandhi’s office was engaged in a vilification campaign against her after she had stepped down as a Union minister in 2013, Sharma dared her to file a defamation case against Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying it was he who used to target her with the “Jayanthi tax” barb.
“If Jayanthi is offended that her reputation has been sullied, she should not complain about Sonia (Gandhi) and Rahul. They have not done it. “She should file a defamation case against Modi, who repeatedly used the ‘Jayanthi tax’ barb during the Lok Sabha poll campaign,” said Sharma.
Further targeting Natarajan, he said that questions about her functioning as a minister were raised from time to time by industrialists, including at a CII roundtable meet in Mumbai in August, 2013.
“In Mumbai, they (industrialists) did complain to me about her bitterly… They said in the presence of senior secretaries of the Government of India that files were cleared from Chennai. Specific complaints were made in their presence. “Why should a Cabinet Minister take files home. I did not take files pertaining to my ministry to Shimla. They (industrialists) complained that they were asked to take the files to a particular OSD there… They told me that I should understand the reason when I’m asked to go to a specific OSD.”
Sharma claimed that hundreds of files had to be collected from Chennai after she had resigned. The former commerce minister also said that if need be, the industrialists who had attended the Mumbai meet may be asked to say publicly now what they had claimed during the CII event.
To a specific question on whether he was saying that there were corruption allegations against her, Sharma said, “Well, that is what they (industrialists) complained about. There was a perception… that question has to be answered by Jayanthi or Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who frequently attacked her with the ‘Jayanthi tax’ barb.”