Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday cornered Congress chief Rahul Gandhi over a media report claiming that the latter’s former business partner got defence offset contracts under the UPA regime.
Addressing a press conference, Jaitley alleged that Rahul and his sister Priyanka were directors in the UK firm Backops Private Limited, which associated with Congress chief’s former business partner Ulrik Mcknight and received defence contracts during the UPA regime.
Jaitley said Ulrik Mcknight, at Backops Ltd in the UK, had got offset defence contracts from French defence supplier Naval Group against Scorpene submarines in 2011 during the UPA rule.
"It's story of a man who aspired to be a defence deal pusher and today aspires to be India's PM. It's a serious charge and I think it's my responsibility to make good discharge," said Jaitley, referring to Rahul Gandhi.
Jaitley's reference was to a Business Today report on how his former business partner at Backops Limited in the UK -- the same company that in its documents for incorporation had said that Rahul Gandhi was a British citizen -- had got offset defence contracts during UPA rule.
Ulrik Mcknight was 35 per cent co-owner of Backops UK, in which Rahul Gandhi owned a majority 65 per cent equity between 2003 and 2009 before the firm was wound up. Mcknight later went on to acquire offset contracts from French defence supplier Naval Group against Scorpene submarines in 2011.
"On May 28, 2002, a company is formed in India named Backops Private Limited. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka become company’s director. In 2003, a company with the same name is formed in Britain. Rahul, along with a US citizen, become company’s directors," he said.
"This company, Backops Pvt Ltd, doesn’t have any manufacturing unit. This is kind of a liasoning firm. This means we will get your work done and will charge you for it," the Finance Minister added.
Jaitley further alleged that Rahul "became part of a corporate group which had no business except pushing transactions."
"Now Rahul Gandhi is going to be judged by the standards and level of proof he's laid down," he said.
Earlier in the day, BJP chief Amit Shah too cited the media report to launch a scathing attack on Rahul and Congress.
"With Rahul Gandhi’s Midas Touch, no deal is too much! When he has a say, his business partners make hay. Doesn’t matter if India suffers on the way! #StealLikeRaga," he tweeted.
On the other hand, Rahul, refuting the charges, said that he was ready for any kind of investigation. "Please take any investigation you want and any action against me. I have no problem as I have not done anything wrong. But please also investigate Rafale," he said.