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Congress denies taking petro-bribe from Saddam
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 1
The ongoing slanging match between the BJP and the Congress took a turn for the worse today with the BJP alleging that the main opposition party received bribes from the ousted Saddam Hussein government in Iraq.

In a quick and sharp reaction, the Congress described these allegations as “preposterous and debasing” and said these charges were yet another example of how the BJP had descended to vulgar and vicious levels to lower the quality of the national political debate.

BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today told presspersons that an independent Iraqi newspaper had published the list of 46 organisations and individuals from around the world which had received such bribes. These, he said, included two beneficiaries from the Congress which allegedly received one million barrels of oil. Mr Naqvi urged the government to help the current regime in Baghdad to probe the issue and institute an inquiry by an appropriate agency into this “serious matter.”

“A beneficiary is a senior Congress leader, who has also received one million barrels of oil as bribe worth Rs150 crore,” he claimed. Maintaining that this “petro-scandal” was causing immense embarrassment to the country, Mr Naqvi posed 10 questions to the Congress and asked what its compulsions behind receiving the alleged payoff were and how the funds had been utilised.

In his reply, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi denied these charges and said, “Coming from a party which converted corruption to a fine art, these absurd allegations have to be treated with the contempt they deserve.”

He said before making such allegations against the Congress, the BJP spokesman should have recalled that his party’s former president and a Union minister were caught on camera taking bribes. “The Prime Minister defended the minister in the Lok Sabha,” Mr Singhvi said.

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