Cong, BJP trade barbs over Yes Bank co-founder’s painting allegation

New Delhi, Apr 24 (PTI) The Congress and the BJP engaged in a war of words on Sunday over Yes Bank co-founder Rana Kapoor’s allegation that he was “forced” to buy an M F Husain painting from party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, with the Opposition party calling it “political vendetta” and the ruling party accusing the Gandhi family of being “extortionists”.
Kapoor has told the Enforcement Directorate that he was “forced” to buy the M F Husain painting from Priyanka Gandhi and the sale proceeds were utilised by the Gandhi family for the medical treatment of Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New York, according to the charge sheet filed by the federal anti-money laundering agency in a special court in Mumbai.
He told the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that he was told by the then petroleum minister Murli Deora that the refusal to buy the painting will not only prevent him from building a relationship with the Gandhi family but also prevent him from getting the ‘Padma Bhushan’ award.
Kapoor also told the agency that Ahmed Patel, a close confidante of Sonia Gandhi, had told him that by supporting the Gandhi family at an opportune time for medical treatment of Sonia Gandhi, “I (Kapoor) had performed a good deed for the family and it would be duly considered for the ‘Padma Bhushan’ award”.
Asked about the allegations at a press conference, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “This is absolutely astonishing. I don’t want to use a strong word, it is absolutely disgusting that a 2010 transaction, a person who is behind bars for years, whose 20-30 bail applications have been rejected, who is called a crook and a fraudster, makes allegations about dead people and the government is jumping with joy only because it suits their political angle.”
The government wants to keep the pot boiling for 2022, for a transaction in 2010, when neither Murli Deora is here to deny it nor Ahmed Patel is here to deny, Singhvi said.
“What is the objective of this, is it the result of your (government) pressure tactics and coercion on a person behind bars eager to get his freedom to record statements against political opponents and to keep a 12-year-old thing boiling just for convenience of politics,” the Rajya Sabha MP said, hitting out at the government.
The BJP alleged that the Congress and the Gandhis are “extortionists” and were also selling the Padma Bhushan.
Referring to the Congress election symbol of ‘hand’, BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said, “The Congress hand is with corruption…while common people were suffering, the Congress and the Gandhi family were enjoying.
Addressing a press conference at the BJP headquarters here, Bhatia said that “…when the Congress was in power, members of the Gandhi family used to put pressure on party leaders to ensure the painting is bought”.
“Priyanka Gandhi put pressure to ensure that the painting worth Rs 2 crore is bought by Kapoor,” he said.

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