New Delhi: The Congress on Friday latched onto a report in the Caravan magazine and demanded a probe by the recently constituted Lokpal into an alleged diary of former Karnataka CM B S Yeddyurappa, which has revealed bribes of Rs 1800 crore to the top leaders of the BJP. If the diary, which is with the Income Tax Department, is bogus, Prime Minister Modi should have no hesitation in ordering a probe, Congress chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala asserted at a press conference.

He said the diary allegedly carries signature of Yeddyurappa on each page and is in his handwriting. The Caravan magazine has claimed Yeddyurappa paid Rs 1,000 crore to the BJP central committee. Surjewala said the diary allegedly shows payment of Rs 150 crore each to two Union ministers and Rs 100 crore to another. Besides, there are other recipients who have been duly named along with the pay-off. There is also a mention in the magazine of a Rs 300 crore pay-off to unnamed judges.

Surjewala said if PM Modi shuts eyes to this prima facie case of corruption by his senior party leaders, he would be constrained to say, “Chowkidar chor hai aur choron ka sardar bhi” (chowkidar is thief and also ring leader of thieves).

ELECTION COMMISSIONER: Quoting from the magazine, Surjewala said the alleged diary seized by the Income Tax Department was lying in the custody of then Central Board of Direct Taxes chief Sushil Chandra, who was appointed election commissioner on February 14.

He said the IT Department had sought permission for a probe into the diary’s contents by various agencies, but the government refused. A senior BJP leader was among those who put down his foot and ruled out any kind of probe, the magazine claimed quoting the concerned officers. Surjewala also demanded to know who the “beneficiaries” of the money were.

Rejecting the documents cited by the article as “forged”, Yeddyurappa said, “I am thinking of filing a defamation case…these are false allegations. The IT department officials had examined and found that the documents and signature are forged…it is politically motivated.” Later in the day, Union minister and senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad rubbished the allegations and claimed that his party was “fully aware of the press conference.”

Since the Congress was “staring at defeat” in the general elections, the party is “weaving a web of lies”, he said. Citing the allegations in the report, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “You can also have a look at the statement issued by CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxes), which has already clarified on the issue.” The alleged diary entries include a list of 26 people under “money received/paid to me” with payment amount ranging from Rs. 5 crore to Rs. 500 crore.