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BSY dismisses bribe charge as 'malicious'

NEW DELHI: The Congress Friday renewed its attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, demanding an investigation after a report in news magazine The Caravan alleged "payoffs amounting to over Rs. 1,800 crore" by former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa to "BJP's national leaders, its central committee, and judges and advocates".

The article, titled "The Yeddy Diaries", claims documents accessed by the magazine show that diary entries - made in BS Yeddyurappa's handwriting in 2009 recording the alleged payouts - have been in the possession of the Income Tax department since 2017. The report also alleges that Arun Jaitley, named in the diary entries as one of the alleged beneficiaries, "chose not to act" when he was alerted by an income tax official.

"Prima facie, this is a case of investigating all BJP leaders, right from the PM and downwards. It is a fit case to be investigated by the newly appointed Lokpal," Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a press conference, waving a copy of the 'expose'.

Rejecting the documents cited by the article as "forged", BS Yeddyurappa said, "I am thinking of filing a defamation case...these are false allegations. The I-T department officials had examined and found that the documents and signature are forged...it is politically motivated."

According to the magazine, copies of the entries - recorded by BS Yeddyurappa in a Karnataka lawmaker's diary - note that he paid the BJP Central Committee Rs. 1,000 crore, union ministers Arun Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari Rs. 150 crore each, Rs. 100 crore to Rajnath Singh, Rs. 50 crore each to party veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi. The entry, the article claims, also notes that BS Yeddyurappa paid Rs. 10 crore for "Gadkari's son's marriage".

The Income Tax Department Friday issued a clarification saying its one-and-half-year-old searches yielding "loose sheets" of papers containing "numerical entries" against "some individual names" appear to be doubtful as the originals are not available.

The CBDT in a statement said it had recovered "xerox copy" of "diary pages" of Karnataka Legislative Assembly of 2009 from Congress leader D K Shivakumar during a search action on August 2, 2017.

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