Former Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Sunday hit out at his detractors, who questioned his renomination from Chandigarh over the cash-for-post scam issue, claiming he was a victim of a conspiracy and had suffered despite there being no evidence against him.
“It was a conspiracy against me, a malicious campaign was run. This conspiracy should have been over eight months ago. After months of probe, when no proof was found against me, the charge sheet did not name me,” the 65-year-old leader said addressing a press conference at the party’s city headquarters.
He said that his detractors had made it their “pastime to target” him and asserted, “I have nothing to hide and based on our work, based on the development we have undertaken, we would like to go to people.”
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The four-time Congress MP from Chandigarh dismissed claims that he was “let off” by CBI “under pressure” saying “CBI is not a football that if you want you can play with it the way you like.”
At the outset, Bansal said he wanted to clear the air over the taint charges once and for all.
“A person suffers, gets defamed the moment an uncharitable remark appears against him in the media. Even if at the end of the day, he comes out clean, there is not an iota of evidence against him, he still remains traumatised. That is what I have passed through in these ten months,” said Bansal, who had to step down as Railway Minister last year after his nephew was held for alleged bribery.
He said during the past ten months, it was the people’s support which kept him going.
“I had the people’s support… if truth be with you, little matters who is against you. I have believed in that and that is how I have overcome this and come out of this, there is nothing against me.”
He alleged “wild allegations are made against me, without awaiting the due process, kangaroo courts were set up and instantaneous judgements of presumptive guilt were passed against me.”
Bansal is pitted against three prominent women candidates in Chandigarh– former Miss India and AAP candidate Gul Panag, BJP’s actress-turned-politician Kirron Kher and BSP’s Jannat Jahan.
He was also faced a volley of questions relating to earlier speculation that Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari, who is presently an MP from Ludhiana, had been eyeing the Chandigarh seat.
Asked to respond to Tewari recently stressing that those having “taint” should not be given tickets, Bansal said he would not like to comment on this.
He thanked Congress President Sonia Gandhi, party vice president Rahul Gndhi and the members of the party’s central election committee for reposing faith in him.
Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla and nine others, arrested in the Rs 10-crore cash-for-post railway bribery case, will face trial with a special court in Delhi framing charges of criminal conspiracy and corruption against them on Tuesday.
Bansal has been arrayed as a prosecution witness by the CBI in its charge sheet filed last year.