New Delhi: The Modi government’s response to The Wire story on the dramatic growth in some of the businesses of BJP party president Amit Shah’s son may have been to circle the wagons and rush to his defence but the RSS on Thursday struck a different note, saying Jay Amitbhai Shah should be investigated if the accusations levelled against him are serious and there is evidence in hand.
Speaking to reporters during the RSS’s ‘national consultation meeting’ in Bhopal, the Sangh’s joint secretary Dattatreya Hosabale said that an investigation should be initiated if there is any prima facie evidence against Jay Shah.
“If there are corruption allegations against anyone, they should be investigated. But there has to be prima facie evidence of wrongdoing,” he said to a question from a journalist, according to NDTV.
According to other media reports, Hosabale, while replying to a query on whether he thought there was a case against Shah, said, “It is for those who have made the accusation to prove the charge”.
Aaj Tak quoted the RSS leader as saying, “Kisi par bhi jo brashtachar ke aarop hote hain, uspe jo aavashyak jaanch hain, woh ho. Iss hisab se jo karwai hoti hai, woh ho (If there are corruption allegations against anyone, the probe that is required must take place. Whatever action is decided on that basis should be taken).”
Hosabale’s words indicate that the RSS’s position on the matter is slightly at variance with the BJP’s, whose leaders had dismissed The Wire’s story as “baseless” and “defamatory”. Several senior leaders – including Union minister Piyush Goyal in a press conference – have taken turns to defend the national party president’s son. Jay has also filed a criminal defamation case against The Wire, though both his father and Modi have maintained silence on the issue.
Hosabale’s statements come at a time when opposition parties, especially the Congress, have tried to corner the BJP on the issue. The RSS, which has always advocated strict action against corruption, appears to be a responding to the strident opposition allegations.
Since the BJP has not come up with any factual rejoinder to the report, party insiders told The Wire that the Sangh parivar has been trying to devise a possible strategy to minimise the negative electoral impact the BJP may have to suffer.
That the Sangh parivar has been grappling with a number of issues that do not bode well for the BJP in the upcoming Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections was reflected recently in RSS sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat’s Vijayadashami speech. Bhagwat had targeted the Modi government for putting small and medium businessmen – also considered the RSS’s core support group – in a tight spot by hastily implementing the Goods and Services Tax.