Advani''s regret to Sonia on Swiss bank account issue

Written by: Pti
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Prasad said many magazines and journals published from abroad, including a magazine from Switzerland had publishedsuch allegations in the past.

"In spite of the serious nature of these allegationsthere was no rebuttal or denial. Therefore, in the absence ofany firm denial, these allegations carried some validity," hesaid.

The BJP maintained that Advani has in his publicutterances "gently reminded" the Congress president that ifshe felt strongly about these allegations she should issue afirm denial. He had raised this issue at a BJP rally inGuwahati in January after the national executive.

"Now for the first time after so many years, Gandhihas written to Advani denying the existence of any suchforeign bank account. In the light of this belated denial,Advani has expressed his regret," Prasad said.

However, some leaders within the BJP appeared to differfrom this view and maintained that the party could haveavoided targeting the Gandhi''s with the allegation in the TaskForce Report.

Some also felt that Advani''s letter could have beenavoided.

The BJP appointed a four-member Task Force comprised SGurumurthy, former IB director Ajit Doval, Professor RVaidyanathan from IIM-Bangalore, and advocate MaheshJethmalani. Its brief was to unravel the amount of black moneystashed by Indians in foreign banks and ways to bring it back.

It has put the figure of money stashed in safe havensto be Rs 25 Lakh Crore.

The Task Force report, released by Advani and other NDAleaders on Feb 1, had alleged that Sonia Gandhi and formerPrime Minister Rajiv Gandhi were among Indians who held Swissbank accounts.

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