New Delhi: Raking up a 2011 statement of the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, BJP on Thursday said he had "supported" rescuing Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher airline as it hit back at Rahul Gandhi over his barbs at the Modi government over the liquor baron's travel to London as banks moved court to recover their dues.
The party alleged that the government-run SBI had later given a loan of Rs 1,500 crore to the then struggling airline, since closed, and called Mallya "a sin of Congress". BJP asked the Congress vice-president to explain his party's "deal" with the tycoon who got a "bailout package" of thousands of crores of rupees despite his "dubious" finances.
"Singh had spoken about helping out Kingfisher. Congress is now blaming the (NDA) government for sins committed by its government. Industrialists like Mallya are its sins.
"Rahul Gandhi should rather answer why Mallya was given loans by 17 banks, most of which are run by government, between 2004 and 2009 despite having dubious finances. What was his party's deal with him?" party National Secretary Shrikant Sharma said.
As Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines faced turbulence, Singh was reported to have said steps would have to be taken to help the private sector entities if they get into difficulties.
It was due to the then government's pressure that the public banks gave Mallya loan and unfroze his account which was frozen due to his precarious financial condition, he alleged.
"It is Congress which is the champion of corruption while our government is acting against such people," he said as he made a mention of Ottavio Quattrocchi, an alleged beneficiary in Bofors case whose escape from India was on Thursday used by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to attack Congress after Rahul's criticism of the government.
The Congress vice-president should do some homework before he attacks the government and his remarks only prove that he is "part-time non-serious" politician, Sharma said.
Earlier in the day, Gandhi asked the government how it allowed liquor baron, who owes over Rs 9,000 crore to banks, to leave the country and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had failed to answer this question in their speeches.
Attacking Gandhi over 'fair and lovely' jibe at a scheme brought out by the government to unearth black money, Sharma said, those coming clean under it will have to pay 15 per cent fine, besides 30 per cent tax.
When the then government had brought out a scheme on similar lines in 1997, it envisaged 30 per cent tax on undisclosed assets at the market price prevailing in 1987 and slapped no fine, he claimed.