Mumbai, Apr.15 (ANI): Congress leader Rajiv Shukla has claimed that the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government paid five crore US dollars to end the 1999 hijack of an Indian Airlines plane in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in January 2000.
Shukla claimed that the amount was paid to Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist Maulana Azhar Masood in exchange for the nearly 200 passengers taken hostage in December 1999.
Addressing a press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday, All India Congress Committee spokesman Rajiv Shukla said: "Was (Gujarat CM) Narendra Modi aware of the release of Maulana Azhar Masood and Jaswant Singh accompanying him with a booty of five crore US dollars?"
He alleged Masood used the money to set up the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist group and armed it to attack Parliament, Askhardham and Raghunath temples. hukla asked Modi if he approved of senior BJP leader L. K. Advani going to the mazar of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, which no Congress leader ever visited, and "prostrating before it and calling him a secular leader and a great visionary".
BJP spokesman Prakash Javdekar denied knowledge about any money given to the terrorists as alleged by Shukla.
He also rubbished Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement that there were 28 prisoners on death row and Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru's number was 22.
"There is no queue for death row. He (Afzal) should be immediately hanged. Afzal Guru's trial and conviction was expedited due to POTA," Javdekar said. (ANI with inputs)