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Congress says Jaitley daughter’s law firm engaged by Choksi, BJP says money returned

Mumbai : The Congress said that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley should be sacked from the Union Cabinet by claiming that his daughter and son-in-law, both lawyers, had allegedly received a retainership of Rs 24 lakh from fugitive jeweller Mehul Choksi.

Alleging that it was a “clear” case of “connivance and conflict of interest”, the Congress also demanded a “full investigation”.

Senior Congress leaders Sachin Pilot, Sushmita Dev and Rajiv Satav said Jaitley’s daughter Sonali and her husband Jaiyesh Bakhshi had accepted a retainership from Choksi’s Gitanjali Gems Ltd in December 2017. “Rs 24 lakh was received by Sonali Jaitley and Jaiyesh’s (firm) Jaitley & Associates,” they told the media.

In reply to questions from news website The Wire earlier, Bakshi had said, “…It is reiterated that we never got any opportunity to either represent M/s Geetanjali Gems Limited or to do any legal work for them, since we terminated their retainer as soon as we heard of their involvement in a banking scam.”

Claiming that complaints on alleged fraud by Geetanjali group reached PMO in 2015 and 2016, and FIR was lodged against Choksi in January 2015, the Congress leaders said, “…Despite all this, and with Jaitley being Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, his daughter and son-in-law proceeded to accept a retainership from Choksi’s company…is this not a clear-cut case of collusion, connivance and conflict of interest on part of Finance Minister?…”

When asked, BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said, “I don’t want to talk much about it. But it happens sometimes that lawyers take cases without knowing much details. But the lawyer herself admits that when she came to know about the facts she had returned the fee. What’s the big deal?”