New Delhi, Jul 22: Seeking to turn the tables on Congress over corruption, BJP today accused Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat of "making money" by tweaking liquor policy to benefit private distributors and demanded his sacking.
However, the Chief Minister rejected the allegations as "baseless" and far from truth and said he has ordered a forensic examination of the video tape of a sting operation that formed the basis for BJP's charges.
The BJP, which is under attack over Lalitgate and Vyapam scams allegedly involving its top leaders, also sought to drag top Congress leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, accusing all party chief ministers from Kerala to Assam, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand of having become "merchants of loot" and giving commission to the the Gandhis.
At a press conference here, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman released a CD of the sting operation in which Rawat's personal secretary Mohammad Shahid is purportedly bargaining with middlemen and private liquor distributors about the commission to be given to him for allowing them instead of government undertakings to distribute liquor in Dehradun.
The CD does not feature Rawat, but a person whom the Minister claimed was Shahid talking to alleged dealers. Sitharaman said Shahid has long been the "handpicked" associate of Rawat and had served the Congress leader in the central government earlier too. Shahid is also the Excise Secretary in the state.
"Instead of focusing on providing relief to Uttarakhand for which he was sent replacing Vijay Bahuguna, Rawat is focusing on making money by tweaking the liquor policy. We demand that the Congress party remove him instantly. He must resign," she told reporters.
BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma said Congress "looted" the country when it ruled the Centre and now its chief ministers were doing it in states. "They have been given a license to loot.
BJP wants to know how much commission from this loot is given to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. The loot by these chief ministers has grown under their patronage," she said.
Hitting back at the Congress for demanding discussion in Parliament over allegations involving Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan Chief Ministers, the Minister said if all parties decide to break parliamentary rules to discuss issues, then debate must be held in Parliament on graft charges against Rawat, Himachal chief minister Virbhadra Singh and their Assam and Kerala counterparts.