Guwahati, Jan 9 (ANI): Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Lal Krishna Advani on Sunday lashed out at the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre for failing to bring back 'black money' put away in foreign banks.
"Why is this money not being brought back? Is it because they are aware that some people in the government and their friends are involved in siphoning off money to foreign banks?" Advani asked coming down heavily on the UPA Government on the second-day of the BJP national executive committee meet here.
"Since independence more than Rs 300 lakh crore in black money has been deposited in foreign banks. I and other senior BJP leaders have sent a signed letter to the Prime Minister urging him to bring back this money and utilise it for the development of the nation," he added.
Further pulling up the Congress Government for its wrong policies and extensive corruption, Advani said: "The price rise and corruption is due to the misrule and wrong economic policies of the Congress."
The BJP veteran said that the national elections can be held before 2014, and added that a political turning point has been reached.
"The party members should pledge that they will use this turning point as an opportunity," he said.
Earlier today, BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman alleged that Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi's involvement in the Bofors pay-offs lead 'directly to the doorstep of Congress President Sonia Gandhi'.
Sharpening the party's attack on Gandhi, the BJP leader said: "There are more attempts by the government to cover it (Bofors scam) up and this we attribute to be a culture of the Congress, the evidence of which you see even after 23 years."
"The Bofors case - the cover-up was attempted even till the last day, has come out openly now. Given the experience in Bofors, 2G, Commonwealth Games and Adarsh, that is exactly what is going to happen in 2011 too," said Sitharaman.
The BJP also sought an explanation from the Gandhi family on its relations with Quattrocchi and his dealings.
"Therefore, today there is a very clear need for the first family of the Congress to explain where they stand on this. Who was Quattrocchi and what was his link with the household of the then Prime Minister (Rajiv Gandhi) and if indeed Quattorcchi received the kickbacks, where is all that money?" Sitharaman asked.
An income tax tribunal in its order issued indicated how much money Quattrocchi and Win Chaddha were paid by Bofors as bribes.
The kickbacks violated rules, as a middleman is illegal in defence deals in India. Therefore, Quattrocchi and Chaddha are liable to pay income tax on bribe money they got while living in India.
It also claimed that due to the kickbacks, India had to pay almost Rs. 160 crore extra for the guns.
The Bofors scandal was a major corruption scandal in India in the 1980s. The then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and several others were accused of receiving kickbacks from Bofors AB who were awarded the contract for the supply of 155 mm field howitzers.
The scale of the corruption was far worse than any that India had seen before, and contributed to the defeat of Rajiv Gandhi's ruling Indian National Congress party in the November 1989 general elections.
Further criticizing Dr. Manmohan Singh over the various scams during his tenure as Prime Minister of the country, Sitharaman said: "On 2G, Commonwealth Games - the repeated assertions of those who are accused, take the allegations to the doorsteps of the Prime Minister's Office." (ANI)