National

Congress steps up attack on BJP

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh shows Dholpur Palace issue documents during a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday.  

The Congress remained unrelenting in its attack on the BJP government on Tuesday, as another corpse connected to the mysterious Vyapam scandal in Madhya Pradesh surfaced, a second Minister in Maharashtra, Vinod Tawde, was accused of corruption charges, more details on the ownership of the Dholpur Palace emerged, and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu's son was accused of getting hefty contracts without tenders.

The principal Opposition party continued to press for the resignations of four Ministers — External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajsthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Union HRD Minister Smriti Itarni and Maharashtra Minister Pankaja Munde — and a response from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to corruption charges against his government.

The BJP remained silent through all this — except for Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Babulal Gaur. As the Opposition continued to seek a CBI probe into the high-profile Vyapam scam in the wake of the deaths of accused and witnesses alike, he , described them as “natural” deaths and ruled out a probe by the central agency into the scandal. The accused fell sick and died,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Keeping up its pressure on Ms. Raje, the Congress made public fresh documents in support of its claim that the Dholpur Palace is a state-owned property.

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh brought out four new documents — among them a 1949 copy of the instrument of accession of Dholpur Palace to the Indian state — to claim that the property belonged to the State but was later usurped by Ms. Raje's family and former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi so that they ould run it as a luxury hotel.

“These documents conclusively prove that Dholpur Palace belongs to the government of Rajasthan. The Maharaja of Dholpur was given lifetime possession of Dholpur Palace. Only Maharaja Udaybhanu Singh can own it,” Mr. Ramesh said. He contended that the Instrument of Accession 'óverrides' all other documents on the ownership issue.

‘Dushyant not owner’

Also countering claims by the Rajasthan BJP that the Palace was given to Mr. Dushyant Singh as part of an agreement between the latter and his estranged father Hemant Singh, Mr. Ramesh presented another document to show that the agreement pertained only to movable assets of Dholpur Palace, not immovable.

“In 2007, Additional District Judge of Bharatpur in a case titled, Dushyant vs Hemant,’ ruled on a compromise between father and son in which compromise was only made for movable property,” he said. “These documents prove that Dushyant is not the owner of the Palace, he is only the owner of movable properties,” he added.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 11:52:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/lalit-modiraje-issue-congress-steps-up-attack-on-bjp/article7371676.ece

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