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Washing machine on dais, Cong taunts BJP over 'clean chit' to leaders aligning with ruling party

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New Delhi, Mar 30 (PTI) Displaying a washing machine on its press conference dais, the Congress on Saturday taunted the BJP over the CBI filing a closure report in a 2017 corruption case against NCP leader Praful Patel and said the ruling party's "fully automatic washing machine" works on the principle -- "join BJP, case closed".

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The Congress raised the issue of leaders, against whom there have been corruption charges, joining or aligning with the BJP only to see "the cases against them being closed", an allegation often levelled by opposition parties.

The party warned it will "go after every single officer" of agencies "who has willingly become a party to undermining our democracy and our Constitution".

Congress' media and publicity department head Pawan Khera's press conference at the AICC headquarters on Saturday was all about symbolism, with a "BJP washing machine' kept on the table and a demonstration of a "dirty T-shirt" with "corruption, fraud, scam" written on it going into the machine and a clean T-shirt with "BJP Modi wash" written on it coming out of it.

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In keeping with the flavour of the press conference, Khera alleged that the "BJP machine costs over Rs 8,500 crore" - the money the ruling party got through electoral bonds - and it is effective in cleaning all types of stains of corruption when used with "Modi washing powder".

A leaflet on the "Modi washing powder" was also distributed at the press conference with the prime minister's picture and a tagline "saare daag chutkiyon mein dhule (All stains will be washed away in a jiffy".

Khera said months after Patel joined the BJP alliance in Maharashtra by splitting the NCP, the CBI filed a closure report in a 2017 case of corruption which the BJP had mentioned in its "charge sheet" released in 2014.

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The BJP in its 2014 Lok Sabha elections "charge sheet" against the UPA government had listed what it described as the "Air India scam".

Khera pointed out that the BJP had stated that the "whole scam is approximately Rs. 25,000 crore to Rs 30,000 crore".

The Central Bureau of Investigation had alleged that in 2006, Patel abused his position as the Union civil aviation minister in the UPA government to lease several aircraft for five years to Air India to benefit private players, Khera said.

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Not only this, in 2019, the BJP made "some vile allegations" against Patel claiming that "he was involved in a property deal with 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts accused Iqbal Mirchi", the Congress leader said.

"BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra asked the Congress to come clean on the allegation of a land deal between Patel and Mirchi, a close aide of fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim who was declared a global terrorist. We ask, what happened to that ludicrous allegation, now?" Khera said.

He claimed that there are at least 21 major leaders who have been whitewashed "clean" after the BJP made allegations of corruption and illegality against them.

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Khera cited the names of Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Narayan Rane, Ajit Pawar, Chhagan Bhujbal and Ashok Chavan as being among those against whom the BJP had levelled allegations of corruption but stopped talking about it when they joined the ranks of the BJP.

"Is the BJP 2014 charge sheet about Praful Patel and many others who were part of Congress-UPA true? Or was it only meant for mudslinging? Or to coerce opponents into supporting the BJP. Which scenario holds true for Modi-Shah?" Khera said.

"PM Modi recently spoke about 'committed judiciary' and criticised the Congress party for his own government's sins. Can PM Modi and HM Amit Shah, now come out openly saying that they want committed institutions – a caged parrot CBI, an extortion directorate ED, or an income terminating IT?" he said.

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"Na khaunga, na khane doonga, agar BJP join karo, to cases rafa-dafa kar doonga," Khera said, taking a jibe at the prime minister for his 2014 election statement where he had vowed to fight corruption.

Khera asserted that the Congress has always maintained that all these "so-called scams" that the BJP spoke about were fake.

"All the so-called reports, that the so-called CAG Mr Vinod Rai who was a puppet in the hands of those in the current regime prepared, were fake. But we will definitely go after every single officer of these agencies who has willingly become a party to undermining our democracy and our Constitution," he asserted. PTI ASK RT RT

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