The BJP today insisted that party chief Amit Shah's son Jay Shah has been "wronged" and rejected any comparison between his business transactions and that of Congress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra.
A number of Union ministers and BJP leaders, including Piyush Goyal, Smriti Irani and Ananth Kumar, came out in strong defence of Amit Shah's son over the allegations.
Goyal said the BJP's conscience is clear over the matter and that is why Jay Shah has filed the defamation case soon after a story by news portal 'The Wire' claimed that his company's turnover rose by a huge margin after the BJP came to power in 2014.
Vadra did not go to court, nor did he do anything to "prove his bonafide" but the Congress went on to "stall" Justice Dhingra committee report into his controversial land transactions, Goyal told reporters.
Vadra's "transactions were a case of round-tripping of money with the help of the (UPA) government," he alleged.
Vadra has denied any wrongdoing and accused the BJP of targeting him for political reasons.
Insisting that Jay Shah has been "wronged", Goyal said there is no comparison between his case and that of Vadra because he (Jay Shah) "has had no dealing with the government. His every transaction is official and he did his work honestly."
He went on to add, "Our conscience is clear. That is why we announced on the very day (of story's publication yesterday) that we are going to court."
To questions about a Union minister like him using the BJP forum to defend a private citizen like Jay Amit Shah, Goyal said the story wanted to "defame" the party and its top leaders by making imputations and also put out their photographs.
As a leader of the party, he has to present its case, he said, justifying its strong defence of the its president's son.
To a question about opposition parties using the issue to politically corner the BJP, Goyal said they will get "political reply" in the upcoming Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat assembly polls.
Irani, in a statement, said the aggression by the Congress against Jay Shah was clearly off track.
Defending Jay Shah, she said his business is perfectly legitimate and legal.
"TDS is paid, loans are repaid and company closed after losses," she said, adding "Does this reek of cronyism?"
Hitting out at the Congress, she said the Nehru-Gandhi family, which was "pressuring" banks to give loans to Vijay Mallya in return of airline upgrades, is now questioning others.
"It would be more prudent for the Congress to give an account for more than 80 scams and the Rs, 1,80,000 crore that India has lost due to corruption and cronyism of its successive governments," Irani said.
Accusing the Congress of trying to divert attention from its "scams and misdeeds", she referred to dissent and defections in its ranks in states like Bihar and Maharashtra besides poll-bound Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.
The Congress party is advised to manage its own house, which is "falling like a pack of cards", she said.
In Bihar, they insulted a Dalit leader, she said, an apparent reference to the Congress' decision to remove its state chief, a Dalit.
"The Congress attempt to divert attention from their own scams and misdeeds will not work as the people of India have seen through them repeatedly and comprehensively rejected its sultanate of corruption," she said
BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya vouched for Shah's integrity, saying, "if there is no honesty in his home, then there is no honesty anywhere".
In Coimbatore, Union minister Ananth Kumar lashed out at the Congress for levelling "false" charges against his party and Amit Shah's son.
"The allegation against Jay Amit Shah is baseless and a foisted one", he told reporters.
In Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh's minister Sidharth Nath Singh reminded the Congress of the "son-in-law model" of doing business under the previous UPA government after opposition leaders made barbs about Shah's "son model".
Rajasthan BJP chief Ashok Parnami said allegations levelled against Jay Shah were false and made to "mislead" people.
"Opposition parties be it Congress or AAP level false allegations. It is their habit. There was no irregularity on his (Jay's) part and all loans taken by him were in accordance with law and paid with interest," Parnami told reporters in Alwar.