Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal has firmly rejected the charges made against him by Union I& B minister Smriti Irani, claiming that it was an attempt to divert public attention from key issues like the CBSE paper leak and data leak.
Admitting that he had purchased land from his own money which was not in dispute, he said the transaction was listed in his and his company’s income tax filings.
Irani in a press conference had demanded an explanation from Congress chief Rahul Gandhi over Sibal’s alleged land dealing with a businessman who was investigated by the CBI in 2013 for alleged bribery.
At a hurriedly convened press conference, Sibal said he was saddened that the minister was making such allegations instead of talking about the grave issue of the CBSE paper leak and data leak.
The former law minister also threatened to file a defamation suit against news website opindia.com, which Irani had cited for her allegations against him, but refused to do so against her.
“Yes, I brought the the company. Does anyone have objections? I gave the money from my income, which is tax paid and the income tax returns are filed up to date,” he told reporters.
Asked about the charges about his dealings with the businessman who was facing a money laundering investigation, he said, “You ask him all those questions” and ended the conference.
“It is sad that a minister in this government is interested in raising non-issues, rather than the real issues of the people,” Sibal said.
“I’m a little saddened that to divert the attention of the people, to the complete lack of application of mind and the utter carelessness of this ministry and government, she instead came out and asked Rahul Gandhi to explain,” he said.
Sibal said Irani made the allegations “without even reading the meaning of money launderer”.
“Does she ask the prime minister why Nirav Modi is photographed with him in Davos, who is also allegedly a money launderer,” he asked.
Irani had also cited a South African media report, which alleged that the businessman, Piyoosh Goyal, was involved in money laundering.
Citing opindia.com, she alleged that Sibal and his wife bought a company called Grand Castilo from Goyal in 2017 while the UPA government was investigating the businessman for bribery.
“People might say that Mr Sibal has a right to buy and engage with the so-called alleged money launderer, the question I pose is – is it politically acceptable to Sri Rahul Gandhi,” Irani told reporters.