Minister Raju has 'full confidence' in his OSD
NEW DELHI: Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Thursday expressed full confidence in his Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Appa Rao, who is in the eye of a storm over his alleged contacts with arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari, saying that charges levelled against him can be verified.
Rao has been under fire ever since it came to light that he had spoken to Bhandari several times. Bhandari is being probed for allegedly buying a benami house for Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra in London.
“What is the allegation against him? That he has spoken so many times. That(allegation) is verifiable. And it will be verified...my personal staff, I am responsible for them, I choose them. If my personal staff has done something, it is my personal responsibility. I am supposed to be there, they are accountable to me. I am very clear on that,” Raju said.
“If you have an allegation, please give it. If you say a person has talked over phone, that is verifiable... We are for zero corruption. If you have a corruption charge, please tell us. I am not going to encourage corruption much less in my personal staff,” the Minister said.
Significantly, the Civil Aviation Minister cancelled a scheduled presser during the day.
Rao allegedly made some 355 calls to Bhandari, a charge denied by Rao who insisted that the relationship was only professional. “First of all, so many calls would not have been there, I tell you. It was a professional relationship..He (Bhandari) came to meet the minister 3-4 times, in the last one-and-a-half years. ..It was only a professional relation," he had clarified.