Citing a media report, Union Minister Smriti Irani on Thursday accused senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal of dealing with a 'money launderer'. Irani demanded an explanation from Congress president Rahul Gandhi over Sibal's alleged land dealing with a businessman who was investigated by the CBI in 2013 for alleged bribery.
Sibal denied the allegations and threatened to file a defamation suit against news website opindia.com, which Irani cited for her allegations.
She also cited a South African media report, which alleged that the businessman, Piyoosh Goyal, was involved in money laundering.
Citing opindia.com, Irani alleged that Sibal and his wife bought a company called Grand Castilo from Goyal in 2017 while the UPA government was investigating the businessman for bribery.
"People might say that Mr Sibal has a right to buy and engage with the so-called alleged money launderer, the question I pose is - is it politically acceptable to Sri Rahul Gandhi," Irani told reporters here.
"Is it so natural for the Congress leadership today to embrace the money launderer, to shake hand with those that they had investigated for bribery," she asked.
The company had no business in the financial year 2013-14 and commenced purchase of a piece of land, which eventually cost Rs 45.21 crore, she claimed to quote the same media report.
According to opindia.com, Sibal purchased that land at a nominal price.
At a hastily called press conference, Sibal, a former law minister, said that he had bought the land with his own money which was reported in his and his company's income tax filings.
He also termed these allegations as an attempt to divert attention from issues of national importance such as the CBSE paper leak.
OneIndia News with PTI inputs