NEW DELHI/JAIPUR: Troubles for the beleaguered Chief Minister of Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje mounted today with the disclosure that she was the beneficiary of investments of over Rs 11 crore made by tainted IPL ex-commissioner Lalit Modi in her son's company at a high premium.
An affidavit filed by Raje before the Election Commission showed that she had 3280 shares in Niyant Heritage Hotels, owned by her son Dushyant Singh, an MP. Modi had invested over Rs 11 crore in this company at a huge premium of over Rs 96,000 per share of Rs 10.
This disclosure generated charges that Raje had benefitted from Modi's controversial investments which the Rajasthan BJP President Ashok Parnami rebutted by claiming tonight that these shares had been "gifted" to her by Dushyant and his wife Niharika.
Dushyant and his wife had gifted 1615 and 1665 shares, respectively to Raje on her birthday, according to Parnami who saw nothing wrong with it.
As opposition Congress upped its ante demanding Raje's ouster, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and is understood to have discussed various aspects of the raging controversy including the legal implications and the political fallout.
Jaitley, who last night had said that "nobody is tainted", later met BJP President Amit Shah and is believed to have deliberated upon the party's strategy to brazen out the massive row involving Raje as well as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
High level BJP sources said tonight that there was "illiteracy" regarding the entire episode concerning Modi's investments in Dushyant's company. The company had taken a loan of Rs 4 crore in 2009 by cheque and another loan of Rs 7.5 crore in 2010.
There was no illegality in any of this and the value of shares was not inflated but was actually deflated, they said.
Raje, meanwhile, met some top leaders of the state unit, including party unit chief Ashok Parnami in Jaipur, and dismissed media reports about a signature campaign by 120 party MLAs in her support.
Reacting to this, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said in New Delhi that Raje's Income Tax returns for the years under question have been scrutinised by the IT department, which found nothing wrong.
BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma told reporters that the party "fully supports Vasundhara Raje who is our tallest leader in Rajasthan. Congress is targeting our popular leaders and we stand by her."