The Union Central government on Tuesday defended CBI raids on former Congress minister P Chidambaram, his son and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad's residences and businesses asserting that it had nothing to do with them.
On a day of rising political temperatures in the wake of the raids, BJP ministers and top guns in the Congress party hit out at each other.
Amid Congress allegation of political vendetta, top BJP ministers, including Piyush Goyal, Venkaiah Naidu, Arun Jaitley, Anant Kumar and Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government had no role behind the CBI raids.
They said the time had come for the Congress and the RJD to come clean in the wake of the CBI action.
“We never interfere in the law. The investigation must have been going on after all raids don't happen overnight and there must have been reasons for investigative agencies to take the actions that they have taken. Instead of introspecting where they are going wrong and why they lost the faith of people, the Congress is busy in raising non-important issues which the nation is not willing to accept,” Power Minister Goyal said at a press conference.
On Income Tax raids on businesses and persons linked to Lalu Prasad, Goyal said, “We did not ask for the fodder scam case to be reopened. The Supreme Court did that. Clearly, investigation must have been going on.”
Ravi Shankar Prasad, Law Minister in the Narendra Modi Cabinet, was more forthcoming in targeting Chidambaram: “Cannot expect anything else from Chidambaram. He is accountable for the property his son holds and will have to answer to the CBI and cooperate with their procedures.”
Accusing Lalu Prasad of looting Bihar during his rule in the state, Prasad said: “There have been reports of the massive property owned by his son and daughter in both Bihar and Delhi. Why has there been no clarification? A profit worth Rs.1,000 crore is questionable, and hence he is under the scanner.”
Naidu denied that the ruling party was indulging in any witch hunt. “Law is doing its work and we have nothing to do with it. There is no role of the BJP in this. We don’t believe in political witch-hunting and misusing any of these organisations,” the union information and broadcasting minister said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley likened the CBI raids to ‘a day of reckoning’. He said CBI does not carry out raids without any valid reasons.
“Unless there is a valid reason, the CBI and other bodies do not carry out such raids. Every step taken is done so expecting some result in return. The people in high positions acquiring assets through shell companies is not a small thing. Those responsible will be accountable,” the minister said.