NEW DELHI: Launching an attack on Congress, Union Minister Anurag Thakur on Tueday said that the party knows the "art of corruption and corruption through art."
Thakur's remarks follow a recent report published by global watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a body that deals with anti-money laundering measures related to terror financing, which has mentioned Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in one of its case studies.
In its recent report titled Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in the Art and Antiquities Market the FATF alleged that Rana Kapoor, the former CEO of Yes Bank, bought a mediocre painting from Priyanka Gandhi for Rs 2 crore.
Addressing a press conference here today, the Union Minister said, "Congress knows the art of corruption and corruption through art. They are running a campaign against the country. They should apologise to the nation and stop their Cambridge cries."
"Organisations investigating terror-funding cases are now conducting a case study on the corruption model of the Congress," Thakur said.
He further said that organizations investigating terror-funding cases are now conducting a case study on the corruption model of the Congress.
Earlier on Monday, Thakur said the FATF has published a case study on how a former Union Minister in the UPA government had put pressure on an individual.
"One after another, new models of Congress's corruption are coming to the fore. Sometimes it is National Herald, sometimes some another. Now FATF has published a case study on how a former Union Minister in the UPA government pressurized an individual," he said.
He further asked Priyanka Gandhi to answer and reveal the identity of "Mr R" referred to in the FATF report.
"My question to Priyanka Gandhi is who forced Rana Kapoor to pay Rs 2 crore bribe to purchase a painting? What was the need to sell that painting? On whom the money was spent that came from the painting? Who is Mr R who was involved in this? Whether it was a painting for Padma Bhushan? How many Padma awards, and paintings were sold and money was raised?" said Thakur.
Thakur said that the country needs to know how many Padma awards have been sold in this manner.
"Was Padma Bhushan being given in exchange of money and painting? Is this a corruption model of Congress? How many other national honors have you sold for money? You, people, didn't miss any chance to sell the country. Today not only the country but the whole world questioning on Congress' corruption. How many models of corruption does Congress have? Priyanka Gandhi have to give answers to the country what was necessity the that the painting was sold and was given Padma Bhushan. Who is Mr R? Is he in India or any other country? You have done the work of insulting the country from a foreign land," Thakur added.
Reacting to the allegations of Thakur, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that the BJP was indulging in a "conspiracy."
"If they want to do conspiracy, then they can but we don't care," said Chowdhury.
Congress MP Pramod Tiwari claimed that Anurag Thakur was "in pain" because Congress formed the government in Himachal Pradesh where Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigned.
"I can understand the pain of Anurag Thakur, in his home state Priyanka Gandhi formed a Congress government when PM Narendra Modi campaigned in the state," said Tiwari.
DMK MP M Shanmugam said that it was a routine practice for the BJP government to level allegations against the Opposition and they had harassed them also many times.
"It is an allegation. Let them enquire. There are so many allegations but nothing was proved. There is no valid background or witness or document for those allegations," Shanmugam said.
Shiv Sena (Uddav Thackeray faction) Priyanka Chaturvedi said that it seemed that the Information and Broadcasting Ministry was tasked with the job of levelling allegations against the Gandhi family.
"I think that the BJP government has given the task to Smriti Irani to level allegations against the Gandhi family has taken her resignation... and the job has now been given to the I&B ministry. The ED is investigating the allegations. Every other day you are making allegations, and if nothing else is found, then you make the allegations. You used to make allegations when you were in opposition, you make allegations when you are in power. All the agencies are in your hands, conduct an investigation," said Chaturvedi.
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