At a time when Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as Gujarat Chief Minister, received money from the Sahara and Birla groups, former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has questioned the “authenticity” of the purported Sahara “diary”.
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Among the alleged “payment entries”, naming over 100 leaders across the political spectrum as recipients, is one which says “csh given to CM Delhi”, dated September 23, 2013. The amount mentioned is Rs 1 crore. Dikshit was then the chief minister of Delhi.
When contacted, Dikshit told The Sunday Express: “I don’t know about it. I have not seen it. So how can I say anything. It is all based on hearsay. I have nothing to do with it. I can’t remember anything like this.”
Asked about the authenticity of the “diary”, she said, “I don’t know, because how can the authenticity be… When somebody has written about so many people. I believe there are quite a number of people in that. God knows. And who has written it? What is it? Even the court has said it is not authentic, it needs better proof and all. So I don’t know.”
Dikshit is the Congress’s chief ministerial candidate for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. When contacted, Raj Babbar, president of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee, said he was not aware about the issue. “If it surfaces, I will speak to her. Why will not I speak to her,” he said.
Meanwhile, the official Twitter handle of the Congress on Friday tweeted an image of a purported page from the “diary”, containing a reference to the Chief Minister of Gujarat. The page showed an entry for the Delhi Chief Minister as well.
Raising the issue at a public meeting in Mehsana (Gujarat) on December 21, Rahul alleged that in the records with the Income Tax, there were notings of Sahara officials’ claims that they paid Modi nine times between October 2013 and February 2014, and that the total amount was Rs 40 crore. He also alleged that according to the documents with the I-T department, the Birla Group too paid Rs 12 crore to the then Chief Minister.
The Congress asked the Prime Minister to clear the air and face a probe.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had also alleged in the Assembly, more than a month ago, that Modi, as Gujarat Chief Minister, received money from the Sahara and Birla groups. However, the Supreme Court said last week that it didn’t see “even the smallest material” to substantiate the charge.