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No information on Jayanthi joining BJP: Jaitley

BJP accuses Congress of subjecting nation to "sadistic economy"

The BJP on Friday accused the Congress of subjecting the nation to “sadistic economy” by giving or withholding clearances to environmental projects during UPA rule due to political interference and said all such decisions must be probed.

Reacting sharply to allegations of party interference made by former UPA Minister for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan in a letter written to Congress President Sonia Gandhi published exclusively in The Hindu, senior BJP leader and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the revelations are a “text book case of crony capitalism".

“Policies were made to hurt or help some people and the Environment Ministry must take a re-look at all the projects cleared and withheld during the UPA regime," he told journalists.

Using strong words he said, “When whims of political leaders overtake legal requirements this becomes a textbook case of crony capitalism and this is exactly what the UPA government was practising. The UPA was a practitioner of sadistic economy was vindictive in nature, wanting to teach some people a lesson and wanting to favour some. This had to be for corrupt and collateral reasons and this is precisely why India suffered in the last few years of the UPA government.’’

“I hope the Environmental Ministry now goes into each of the permissions that were granted or not and make sure that these are expeditiously dealt with only as per the law and no other considerations," he added.

He said he had no information on Ms. Jayanthi joining the BJP.

Read the full letter here.

The disclosures, coming as they do, on the eve of crucial Delhi Assembly elections do not augur well for the beleaguered Congress Party or its Vice-President Rahul Gandhi.

Congress leader P.C. Chacko termed the allegations as baseless and said the party never got any compliant from her about “interference by Mr. Gandhi's office’’.

In her letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Ms. Natarajan said she had “honoured” requests that came from Mr. Gandhi’s office and took decisions on environment clearances to projects based on “specific inputs”.

The former Minister was asked to step down in December 2013 for party work but was not assigned any. Later she was also removed as a party spokesperson. She said to this day she does not know why she was “removed’ as a minister.

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