Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's son Kartikey Chouhan filed a defamation case against Congress president Rahul Gandhi today for claiming that his name featured in Panama Papers.
Panama Papers refers to the leak of millions of files from the database of the world's fourth biggest offshore law firm Mossak Fonseca that helped in setting up off-shore entities.
Mr Gandhi later clarified that he was referring to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh's son and not Kartikeya. But even while clarifying, the Congress president didn't spare the opportunity of taking another dig, saying that he got "confused" due to the "high number of scams" under BJP governments.
"So many scams have taken place in BJP state governments that I got confused. The name of the son of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister is not there in Panama papers. But Vyapam and e-tendering scams have taken place in his (Mr Chouhan's) rule," Mr Gandhi alleged.
The BJP, which is trying to win a fourth term in power in Madhya Pradesh, is using Mr Gandhi's faux pas to step up its attack on the Congress.
"Mr @RahulGandhi You have been making patently false allegations of Vyapam to Panama Papers against me and my family. Tomorrow, I am filing a criminal defamation suit for maximum damages against you for frivolous and malafide statements. Let law take its own course now," Shivraj Chouhan tweeted on Monday.
Kartikey Chouhan has filed a defamation case against Mr Gandhi at a special court in Bhopal. His lawyer Shirish Shrivastava told reporters that case has been filed because "Rahul Gandhi has attempted to defame Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his son through his remarks at a rally in Jhabua". He alleged that it was part of a plan and Mr Gandhi wanted to reap political benefit from his remarks.
Mr Shrivastava said, "Mr Chouhan and his son have nothing to do with the Panama papers". He said that media clippings and a video of Mr Gandhi's remarks have been submitted with the complaint.
The Congress president had said that a Prime Minister of Pakistan (Nawaz Sharif) lost his post on this issue "but nothing happened here despite the name of the Madhya Pradesh chief minister's son being there".
The Madhya Pradesh chief minister told reporters on Tuesday that Mr Gandhi would not have made the comments without giving it a thought.
"Rahul Gandhi is not a small or a street-level leader. Hence the remarks would not have been made without thought," he said.