BJP today refused to buy Congress’ argument that the loan to the company Associated Journals was paid to propagate its ideology and alleged the deal appears to have been done more for the real estate value involved and “inadvertent” money laundering.

The opposition party maintained that name-dropping of Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi cannot justify a “wrongdoing”. It also emphasised that political parties cannot lend money to commercial entities.

“A very spirited defence has been put up by Congress for its misadventure. The Congress chief spokesperson has tried to justify it by taking the names of Congress leaders and in the name of ideology. He read out passages from the Congress party constitution as if this will justify it,” BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.

BJP also took on Congress for insisting that BJP cannot justify what is political, saying no party can do so and it is for the law to decide.

“Congress should also not justify it with attractive words like socialism. Was the globalisation and liberalisation brought in by Congress also as a part of its commitment to socialism? We all believe in free market but Congress cannot justify this loan on the basis of its ideology or its party constitution,” Ms. Sitharaman said.

She claimed Gandhi and Nehru would not have done what Congress leaders have in this case.

“This act appears to have been done far more for its real estate value. Parties cannot inadvertently become a conduit for money laundering,” Ms. Sitharaman said.

BJP reiterated that this is also a violation of Income Tax laws and demanded a fair probe into the matter.

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