The BJP on Saturday defended party veteran Murli Manohar Joshi against allegations by NRI businessman Anshuman Mishra that he [Dr. Joshi] sought to meet officials of companies involved in the 2G spectrum scam, dismissing the charges as “false” and “baseless.”

The party also described 78-year-old Joshi, who is the Chairman of Public Accounts Committee that probed the 2G scam, as a ‘sage' politician who was a symbol of crusade against corruption.

Dr. Joshi had rejected the charges saying they were an outcome of the “frustration” Mr. Mishra must be experiencing following the denial of Rajya Sabha ticket from Jharkhand.

“My party has already given a befitting reply to the slander of Anshuman Mishra who has been sulking ever since his hopes of becoming a Rajya Sabha member were dashed. Thereafter, he has been training his guns on one BJP leader or the other. His first target was Mr. Advani, then he went after some other party leaders and now he has chosen me for his diatribe,” Dr. Joshi told journalists in Allahabad.

BJP spokesman Tarun Vijay claimed that those who were in the forefront of demanding action in corruption cases were now being targeted due to ulterior motives.

“It is our fervent request to the media not to give any credence to such wild allegations, which do not have an iota of truth. Dr. Joshi is a rishi [sage] politician, a symbol of crusade against corruption,” Mr. Vijay told journalists in Delhi.

Congress' demand

Congress' Sanjay Nirupam said Dr. Joshi should step down as PAC Chief if there was an iota of truth in the allegations.

Mr. Mishra, who withdrew his candidature for the Rajya Sabha from Jharkhand after the BJP withdrew its support to him, claimed that he had introduced Dr. Joshi to senior executives of 2G scam-accused companies when the panel was probing the spectrum case.

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