NEW DELHI: The Congress today hit back at Nirmala Sitharaman, saying that instead of protecting the country, she was coming in defence of her party leaders embroiled in corruption charges.
The Congress attack came after Sitharaman hit out at former union minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram over his family's foreign assets.
"Sitharaman has no contribution as defence minister of the country. She is spending most of her time in defence of her party leaders, including Piyush Goyal and Ajay Shah.
"Sitharaman has been made the defence minister of the country and has been entrusted the task of protecting the country. Instead of that, she is protecting the corrupt in her party," Congress leader Pawan Khera said at a press conference here.
He also accused the BJP leadership and Union ministers in the NDA government of deflecting issues and not giving answers to questions raised by the opposition leaders.
Khera also accused Sitharaman of not disclosing the price of the Rafale fighter jet aircraft.
He also accused the BJP of cancelling the earlier Rafale deal negotiated during the UPA under which public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautic Ltd (HAL) was to make the aircraft in India under transfer of technology and through offset projects worth thousands of crores of rupees.
To a question on charges against Chidambaram's family, he said the statement given by Chidambaram's chartered accountant is clear that there was no wrongdoing and that the Income Tax Department's action would be challenged in the court of law.
He accused the BJP of misusing the I-T Department and targeting the opposition leaders.
The Income Tax department on May 11 filed charge sheets against Chidambaram's wife Nalini, son Karti, daughter-in-law Srinidhi and a firm under the Black Money Act for allegedly not disclosing their foreign assets.
To a query on the Karnataka assembly election, he said he did not have faith in exit polls irrespective of whether they were in his party's favour or not, and exuded confidence that his party would win the election with majority and the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) would decide on the chief ministerial candidate.
To a question whether the Congress would ally with the JD(S) to form the government in case of a hung assembly, he said, "That situation will not arise, I can promise you that."
On Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's comment that he was ready to make way for a Dalit to take his place in the government if the Congress leadership wished so, Khera said it shows the large heart of the Congress leader and the pro-Dalit policy of the party.