Sachin Pilot has strongly denied allegations by a Congress MLAs that he was offered money by the former Rajasthan deputy chief minister to switch sides to the BJP as part of his attempts to topple the Ashok Gehlot government in the state.
“I am saddened but not surprised to be at the receiving end of such baseless and vexatious allegations being leveled against me,” Pilot said in a statement released Monday evening, adding that he would take legal action against legislator Giriraj Singh Malinga for the bribery accusation.
Pilot said the allegation has been made solely to malign him and to stifle the legitimate concerns that he raised against the party leadership of the state.
“This attempt further aims at defaming me and attack my credibility. The narrative is being redirected to avoid addressing the main issue. I will be taking appropriate and strictest possible legal action against the MLA who was made to make these accusations.
“I am sure more such concocted allegations will be thrown at me to cause aspersions on my public image. But I shall be unfettered and remain firm in my beliefs and convictions,” he added.
His statement came just hours after Malinga said he was offered money to join the BJP in talks that were held at Pilot's residence. He claimed he subsequently alerted CM Gehlot about the conspiracy to topple the Congress government in Rajasthan.
"I had a talk with Sachinji. He offered me money to join the BJP, but I refused, saying I will not join the saffron party," Malinga told reporters in Jaipur.
He did not disclose the amount that he was allegedly offered to join the saffron party. Asked if it was between Rs 30 crore and Rs 35 crore, Malinga said he was offered the "going rate".
He said he would not join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) even after resigning as an MLA. "How will I face the people of my area? What will I tell them?" he asked.
The former Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA from Badi, along with five other legislators of the Mayawati-led party, was inducted into the Congress in September last year. The lawmakers had handed over affidavits to state Assembly Speaker CP Joshi to merge the legislative party with the Congress.
(With PTI inputs)