New Delhi: Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh attacked activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal for crossing the line of "political ethics" by accusing Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law of being involved in a land scam with real estate giant DLF and the Haryana government. He claimed that his party had never done so, despite having "enough evidence" against the relatives of leaders like Atal Bihar Vajpayee and L K Advani.
Mr Singh, speaking to NDTV said, "There are ethics in politics. Never attack family. The Congress never attacked (former PM) Atal Bihar Vajpayee's son-in-law Ranjan Bhattacharya or (senior BJP leader) L K Advani's son and daughter. Have we ever said a word against them? They have a private life of their own."
When asked if the Congress brought their names up because there was nothing to ask of them, Mr Singh said, "We had enough evidence, but we never attacked them. Don't make me open my mouth about Ranjan Bhattacharya." During the prime ministership of Mr Vajpayee, it was often said that Mr Bhattacharya had a lot of influence over the prime minister's office and in government, despite having no official position.
The Congress leaders also said that the attacks on the government, ministers and Sonia Gandhi's businessman son-in-law Robert Vadra were an "RSS plot" and "India bought it".
Mr Kejriwal, while accusing Mr Vadra of a land scam along with DLF and the Haryana government, had said that about five years ago, DLF gave Mr Vadra an interest-free loan of Rs. 65 crore. Mr Vadra's five companies, which on paper were worth Rs. 50 lakh, he said, used this loan to buy DLF properties. He said that from 2007 to 2010, Mr Vadra bought property that was worth Rs. 300 crore and is valued at Rs. 500 crore today. "How did he afford this?" he asked. "What was DLF's interest in giving him hugely-discounted properties?"
Mr Singh also claimed that Mr Kejriwal had come to him "requesting" for a place in the National Advisory Council (NAC), a body of non-government sector professionals but was rejected. Mr Kejriwal dismissed this as a "lie."
The NAC is headed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and advises her on social and development policy issues.
"He (Arvind Kejriwal) came to me in 2005 or 2006 with Swami Agnivesh and requested me that I should promote his name to become a member of the NAC. Probably Soniaji was wiser than me, so she refused," Mr Singh told NDTV.
Mr Kejriwal reacted by saying, "Never believe Digvijaya, he always lies."
In the interview, Mr Singh also questioned Mr Kejriwal's associate meeting Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. "Kumar Vishwas must explain why he met Mr Modi," Mr Singh asked adding..."And why is he drawing a salary from his Ghaziabad College while being an activist."
Mr Vishwas mocked Mr Singh's questions. "Now he has awakened to talk about the NAC?" He said his meeting with Mr Modi was to ensure a "strong Lokpal".
Slamming the Congress leader, BJP's Arun Jaitley said Mr Singh was deflecting from the main issue of corruption and insisted that relations with a politician do not guarantee anyone immunity against corruption charges. "The issue is not who you accuse. The issue is corruption. People in public life must conduct themselves properly. Those who are connected to political people must be extra careful about their transactions," he added.