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Sitharaman demands answers from Congress on Vadra-Bhandari alleged dealings

Sitharaman said Bhandari purchased the ticket on Vadra's behalf from a Paharganj based travel agency

Archis Mohan  |  New Delhi 

Robert Vadra
Robert Vadra

Days after the party demanded a probe into the business dealings of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah's son, the hit back asking the to explain the dealings between fugitive arms dealer and President Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law

The question mark on the business dealings of Amit Shah's son Jay and Vadra's alleged association with Bhandari have been reported by the media in recent days.

Addressing a press conference at the headquarters here on Tuesday afternoon, Defence Minister said there were three instances that suggest and Bhandari had business dealings.

In Bengaluru, spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the Prime Minister should get "any investigation" done into allegations against "Modiji has been in power for 41 months. They have governments in Haryana and Rajasthan, and by all means can conduct any investigation," Surejewala said. He said the governments' 'witch hunt' and commissions of inquiries have not led it to any violation of a law, rule or regulation, either in Haryana or Rajasthan.

The Defence Minister said there is evidence of emails exchanged between the two and that Bhandari refurbished Vadra's flat in London.

Sitharaman said in 2012 Bhandari purchased business class tickets for Vadra's international travel from Nice in France to Switzerland's financial capital Zurich.

Until now, has maintained that he has had no business dealing with Bhandari, who is wanted for questioning in his role in swinging a jet trainer deal for Swiss company Pilatus.

Sitharaman said Bhandari purchased the ticket on Vadra's behalf from a Paharganj based travel agency. She also claimed that an amount of 7.5 lakh Swiss franc was deposited in a bank account of Bhandari and asked if there was a connection between this and the money spent on refurbishing the London house linked to

Sitharaman said Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, who has been recently very active on Twitter and has frequently asked questions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has remained silent on the issue. She said the leader was "copying" Prime Minister

"(There are) no tweets on his brother-in-law getting the money. Silence, as it's said proverbially, is construed as acceptance of what is being said," Sitharaman said. She demanded the leadership should answer questions on business dealings between and Bhandari. "Would the party leadership answer these questions, or appear to be hand in glove?" Sitharaman asked.

The defence minister said Indian probe agencies are taking all possible steps to bring Bhandari back to India for questioning. Earlier this year, the enforcement directorate had attached Bhandari's properties.

The and were yet to react to the allegations at the time of filing of this report.

The allegations come at a time when the and assembly polls are around the corner. The winter session of Parliament is expected to being in the third week of November.

First Published: Wed, October 18 2017. 01:37 IST