Staff Reporter / New Delhi

Strongly rejecting the allegations made by the BJP that he, while in office, had invited a Pakistan journalist who was spying for the ISI, Former Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Wednesday said “A litany of falsehoods has been unleashed in sections of the media by a BJP spokesperson.”

BJP cites Pakistani journalist’s claims to attack former Vice-President Hamid Ansari and Congress.

The Congress condemned the allegations in the “strongest terms” and said these reflected a certain “sickness of mind.”

“A litany of falsehoods has been unleashed in sections of the media by a BJP spokesperson,” said Ansari in a statement after BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia at a press conference asked the former Vice-President and the Congress to explain the claims of Pakistani journalist Nusrat Mirza that he had visited India five times during the UPA regime and passed on sensitive information gathered here to the ISI.

Bhatia flagged Mirza’s comments that “he had visited India on Ansari’s invitations and also met him.” Ansari also trashed BJP’s charges that he had, as India’s ambassador to Iran, “compromised national interest.”

“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. I had inaugurated the ‘Conference on Terrorism’ on December 11, 2010, the ‘International Conference of Jurists on International Terrorism and Human Rights’. As is the normal practice, the list of invitees would have been drawn by the organisers. I never invited him or met him,” said Ansari, who was Vice-President from 2007 to 2017.

He said his work as ambassador to Iran was within the knowledge of the government of the day and added that he was bound by the commitment to national security to make any further comment in the matter.

“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 in a statement.

AICC general secretary communication Jairam Ramesh in a statement said “Insinuations and innuendos by a spokesperson of the BJP against Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and Hamid Ansari, former Vice-President of India, are to be condemned in the strongest possible language.  The facts regarding the ‘International Conference of Jurists on International Terrorism and Human Rights’ held on December 11, 2010 in New Delhi are already in the public domain. The insinuations and innuendos of the spokesperson of the BJP are character assassination of the worst form.”

Ramesh said the level that the Prime Minister and his party colleagues will stoop to debase public debate and spread their patented brand of lies is staggering.

“It reflects sickness of mind and lack of any form of integrity whatsoever,” he said.

Gaurav Bhatia today cited an interview by Mirza where he claims that Ansari had invited him five times to India during 2005-11 and shared extremely sensitive and classified information. “Mirza took the information from Ansari and that information was used against India…Mirza was also invited to a seminar on terrorism.”

Bhatia added “The people of India are giving you respect and you are betraying the country. Isn’t this treason? Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and Hamid Ansari should come clean and answer,” he alleged.