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Deve Gowda bribe: Congress criticises Kumaraswamy's claim

March 30, 2012 13:27 IST

Congress has criticised Janata Dal – Secular leader H D Kumaraswamy, son of former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, after the former revealed that his father was offered a bribe for defence deals.

Congress spokesperson Renuka Chaudhary questioned why the statement by Kumaraswamy was being aired in the media after over a decade.

"It is not a matter of scoring political points. So I am not going to react to Mr Gowda's son's alleged statement, because surely Gowdaji and his son were old enough, and in a position to know what they had to do then. So why are they doing it now? It is questionable," Chaudhary told the media.

Congress leader Rajeev Shukla said the father-son duo should have approached the police.

"The general rule (is) that if anybody approaches you for a bribe (is that), you should immediately contact the police, or the investigating agencies. I hope he would have also contacted (the police), and you people should find out whether he contacted or not," Shukla added.

Kumaraswamy has claimed that he was approached to influence his father over defence deals during the latter's tenure as the prime minister.

"I have repeatedly said that many agents tried to persuade me to influence my father, who was then prime minister, to favour them in defence deals. Of course, I never obliged them. The menace has its roots in the jeep procurement scandal that surfaced during Krishna Menon's time under Jawaharlal Nehru. I don't wish to comment further on this since I was too young at that time. The role of middlemen has persisted since then and is now an integral part of the system. General Singh's statement on lobbyists is evident. People like me who speak the truth are branded as villains," he said.

Deve Gowda has stated that he was unaware of the bribe offer.

Gowda was the prime minister of India between June 1996 and April 1997.

 The controversy erupted at a time when Parliament witnessed tremendous ruckus over the leaked letter of Army Chief General V K Singh to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on deficiencies in the defence weaponry.

Speaking on the leak of General Singh's letter, Kumaraswamy claimed that the leak was meant to draw attention away from the government's involvement in dubious purchase deals.

"Of late, startling news has hit the headlines. Why was the confidential letter leaked? It is because the powers-that-be are trying to cover up the shady deals by diverting the issue. It is to safeguard vested interests," he added.

Source: ANI