New Delhi: The Congress on Monday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to remove Amit Shah as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president and demanded a probe into claims in a media report that a firm owned by Shah's son saw a huge rise in turnover after the party came to power in 2014.
While Congress leader Anand Sharma spoke in Delhi on the allegations of wrongdoing by the company owned by Jay Amit Shah, its chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala hit out at the BJP in Jaipur.
Sharma said Modi should "break his silence" on the claims. Hitting out at Union minister Piyush Goyal for defending Jay Amit Shah, he asked whether Goyal was a minister, a "spokesperson or business manager."
"The prime minister speaks on every issue... He speaks a lot... There should be a probe into it... Shah should give up his post until the probe is over, like LK Advaniji did, Nitin Gadkariji did when charges were levelled against them (in separate cases)," Sharma told reporters.
'PM will have to choose between party politics and truth'
The BJP on Sunday rejected the Congress' charge over the business transactions of Jay Amit Shah. Goyal had told reporters that the BJP was "confident" there was no wrongdoing and Jay Amit Shah's businesses were fully legitimate.
In Jaipur, Surjewala said Modi should relieve Amit Shah from the party president post and get the claims probed by a two-member commission of Supreme Court judges.
"It is a tough call for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Country is looking at him whether he will choose friendship and party politics or truth and morality," Surjewala said.
He said there must be transparency and accountability.
"Why shy away from probe if there's nothing wrong? There is no smoke without fire. The country was waiting for development... but 'Jai ka Vikas ho gaya'," he said.
'Was Jay Shah aware of the impending demonetisation?'
Maharashtra's former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan also weighed in on the issue. "The company was started in 2004, and until 2013-14, the company made no transactions. In 2014-15, the company began to transact. In 2015-16, the company's turnover went from Rs 50,000 to Rs 80.5 crore. Of this amount, Rs 51 crore came from abroad. SEBI had also served the company a notice," he said.
"A few days before demonetisation was announced, the company was shut down. Was Jay Shah aware of the impending demonetisation," Chavan asked, "A few days ago, the prime minister had announced that money-laundering firms would be shut down. Is this the sort of work that Jay Shah's company was doing? Is this crony capitalism?"
The former chief minister added, "There should be an ED investigation into the suspicious transactions and as an MP, Amit Shah must answer these questions, not Piyush Goyal. Furthermore, he should resign as BJP president."
Kerala Congress demands probe
Leader of Opposition in Kerala and Congress veteran Ramesh Chennithala in a press release said that the "fake image of the stand taken by the BJP against corruption has fallen flat with the revelation of the huge growth achieved by the business owned by the junior Shah".
"In a matter of three years after the Narendra Modi government, when the country's economy went into a crisis, the phenomenal growth of the business of Amit Shah's son speaks volumes of the things that are happening. While the ordinary man was hit badly on account of demonetisation, the corporates had a field day. Now that the allegations have surfaced, the BJP has been caught on the back foot and the need of the hour is for a comprehensive probe into these allegations," said Chennithala.
Chennithala's demand has come at a time when the Kerala unit of the BJP led by state president Kummanem Rajasekheran is on a state-wide padyatra against the CPM. The yatra, which began on 3 October and will reach Thiruvananthapuram on 17 October, is being participated by every top national leader of the party besides Union ministers.
The BJP has termed the media report on Jay Shah's alleged rise in wealth as "malicious and defamatory" and is going ahead with filing a defamation suit against it.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Oct 10, 2017 11:54 AM