INDIA: Hamid Ansari, a former vice president, has denied reports that he invited a Pakistani journalist who says he gave Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI vital material gathered in India.
According to the BJP, Mirza stated in a Pakistani interview that Ansari invited him to India five times between 2005 and 2011 and gave extremely sensitive and classified information each time.
Ansari called the BJP’s accusations “a litany of falsehoods” and denied inviting or meeting journalist Nusrat Mirza.
Earlier, BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia charged Ansari with treason in reference to the journalist’s allegations.
“People of India are giving you so much respect and you are betraying the country. Isn’t this treason? Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and Hamid Ansari should come out and reply to this,” Bhatia said.
“He took the information from Ansari and it was used against India,” Bhatia alleged, adding that Mirza was also invited to speak at a seminar on the issue of terrorism.
In his rebuttal, Ansari said, “It is a known fact that invitations to foreign dignitaries by the Vice-President of India are on the advice of the government generally through the Ministry of External Affairs.”
He additionally denied having invited or spoken to Mirza in a statement.
In addition, Bhatia highlighted comments made by a former RAW agent as evidence that the former VP had compromised Indian interests while serving as an envoy to Iran.
In his response, the former VP said that the current administration was always aware of his work as Iran’s envoy.
“The Government of India has all the information and is the only authority to tell the truth. It is a matter of record that after my stint in Tehran, I was appointed India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. My work there has been acknowledged at home and abroad,” Ansari said.
The BJP’s accusations against the former VP drew a harsh response from the Congress, which labelled them an attempt at “character assassination.”
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