- Congress and the Gandhis are "extortionists" and were also selling the Padma Bhushan, alleges BJP
- Yes Bank co-founder alleged that he was forced to buy MF Husain painting from Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
- The Congress hand is with corruption... while common people were suffering, BJP said
The Congress and the Gandhis are "extortionists" and were also selling the Padma Bhushan, the BJP alleged on Sunday, attacking its rival over Yes Bank co-founder Rana Kapoor's allegation that he was forced to buy an MF Husain painting from Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, refusing which would prevent him from getting the award.
Referring to the Congress election symbol 'hand', BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said, "The Congress hand is with corruption... while common people were suffering, the Congress and the Gandhi family were enjoying."
Kapoor has told the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that he was "forced" to buy the M F Husain painting from Priyanka Gandhi and the sale proceeds were utilised by the Gandhi family for the medical treatment of Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New York, according to the charge sheet filed by the federal anti-money laundering agency in a special court in Mumbai.
He also said that he was told by the then petroleum minister Murli Deora that refusal to buy the painting will not only prevent him from building a relationship with the Gandhi family but also prevent him from getting the 'Padma Bhushan' award, it stated.
Addressing a press conference at the BJP headquarters here, Bhatia said that "... when the Congress was in power, members of the Gandhi family used to put pressure on party leaders to ensure the painting is bought".
"Priyanka Gandhi put pressure to ensure that the painting worth Rs 2 crore is bought by Kapoor," he said.
Stating that he had paid a cheque of Rs 2 crore, Kapoor claimed that "Milind Deora (son of the late Murli Deora and former Congress MP) later conveyed to him confidentially that the sale proceeds were utilised by the Gandhi family for the medical treatment of Sonia Gandhi in New York", according to the charge sheet.
BJP's IT Cell head Amit Malviya said it is quite clear from Kapoor's confession to the ED that the "Gandhis and Congress are not just extortionist but were also selling the country's highest civilian honour to the highest bidder or durbaris, who did their bidding. It was an instrument to buy loyalty or silence".
Bhatia claimed that Kapoor did not want to give Rs 2 crore for the painting, but the ministers of the Congress government put pressure on him that if he does not buy the painting from Priyanka Gandhi, then the Gandhi family will wreak havoc on him.
The allegations made by Kapoor are part of the ED charge sheet filed against him and others in a Mumbai special court.