Olympian claims Smriti Irani, aides demanded Rs 25 lakh for favour; Cong says Irani must resign, face probe

Shooter Vartika Singh has alleged that under Smriti Irani’s instructions, her close friends issued her a fake letter for post of member of ‘central women’s commission’, a possible reference to NCW

Union Minister Smriti Irani
Union Minister Smriti Irani
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NH Web Desk

The Congress on Monday demanded that Union minister Smriti Irani should resign and face a probe in view of allegations levelled by international shooter Vartika Singh that the Amethi MP and her aides demanded Rs 25 lakh from her by promising to nominate her as a member of the ‘central women’s commission’, a possible reference to National Commission for Women (NCW).

In a media interaction, party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that he had come across the allegations made by the Olympian in media reports, and remarked that if they had been made during the tenure of the UPA govt, Irani would have sat on a dharna. “Why doesn’t the Prime Minister ask for her resignation and order an independent judicial enquiry to probe whether the bribe was demanded or not, whether her close aides made the demand or not,” he said.

Vartika, who hails from Pratapgarh district, alleged last week that under instructions from Smriti Irani, her close friends issued her a fake letter for the post of a member of the ‘central women’s commission’, as per multiple news reports.

She alleged that she was first asked to cough up Rs 1 crore, but ‘looking at her profile’, they reduced the amount to Rs 25 lakh.

Vartika has moved a MP-MLA court in this regard, in which she has named Irani, her secretary Vijay Gupta and Dr. Rajneesh Singh.

She has also alleged that one of Smriti's contacts used offensive language with her on social media.

On November 23, however, Gupta had lodged a complaint against the shooter and another person at Musafirkhana police station in Amethi district, accusing them of levelling unfounded charges against him and trying to spoil his image, following which the police had lodged an FIR against Vartika.

Vartika Singh has claimed that the complaint was lodged after she threatened to expose “corruption”.

Special Judge PK Jayant has fixed January 2 as the date for hearing her plea. According to news reports, her advocate Rohit Tripathi has submitted evidence in the form of indecent chats, messages and videos in the court.

Reacting to the development, Irani's lawyer Kirat Nagra had remarked on Saturday that the case filed against the minister is a "malicious attempt" being made to seek "publicity" and that "political patronage" is writ large on the matter, as per a report carried by India Today.

"This is a concerted attempt to bring disrepute to and defame my client on the basis of the most bizarre and mischievous set of falsehoods which also included brazen forgeries of official documents by this individual," Nagra said in a statement.

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