Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley would come through with flying colours, like L K Advani did after the hawala case in the 1990s, Congress and the Left pointed out that Advani had resigned when the scam surfaced. CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the Prime Minister had given a hint to Jaitley that “he should resign, get himself cleared and come back”.
“Today the Prime Minister said that Jaitley will come out of this like L K Advani in the Jain hawala case. I want to remind Jaitley that Advani had then resigned and had fought elections only after he got a clean chit from the Supreme Court. So is the Prime Minister advising Jaitley that he should also resign like Advani and not come back till he gets cleared,” said Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Yechury said, “If the Prime Minister is drawing a parallel between Jaitley and Advani in the hawala case, I do not know whether the Prime Minister is giving a hint to Jaitley that he should also resign, get cleared like Advani and come back. I read the Prime Minister’s statement in this manner. That this is the Prime Minister’s signal to Jaitley. Unfortunately… I am sure Jaitley may be missing the point.”
The Congress stepped up its attack on Jaitley, riding on BJP MP Kirti Azad’s statements, within and outside Parliament. The party fielded Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma to take on the Finance Minister. The Leader of the Opposition said not even one BJP MP or minister stood up and contradicted what Kirti Azad said in Lok Sabha, which meant they were in agreement with what he had said.
He also raked up Jaitley’s opposition to inclusion of the BCCI in the ambit of RTI when he was the Leader of the Opposition, and asked whether it was because sports bodies are riddled with scams. He referred to a 2011 Supreme Court verdict, which said “office-bearers of cricket association are public servants and fall within the Prevention of Corruption Act”.
“It is a known fact that Arun Jaitley has in the past been a crusader for accountability and repeatedly invoked the dictum that ‘Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion’. The recent developments and revelations, therefore, make it imperative that he lives by the dictum and does not make untenable arguments that this case be treated as an exception to the established principles of accountability in public life,” he said.
“One thing should be clear that there is no denial either by Jaitley, the BJP, or the government that when these alleged acts of omission and commission were there — corruption, fraud, nepotism, creation of fictitious companies, payment to non-existent companies — the person who was presiding over the DDCA’s affairs was Jaitley.”