Cong leaders talk money on camera

The occasion was a news conference organised by the MPCC to brief media about Friday’s rally of Congress president Sonia Gandhi at Sevagram in Vidarbha, a party stronghold.
After the news conference was over, the TV crew began packing their equipment and journalists made an exit from the conference hall.

The two leaders – Manikrao Thakre and Satish Chaturvedi – began their conversation about the arrangement of money for Sonia’s rally, without realising that they were sitting next to a table full of TV cameras and microphones, some of which were still on and picked up the conversation verbatim. By late night, the embarrassing footage was on air.

“We have taken Rs 10 lakh from them and have made flags out of it,” the Maharashtra Congress (MPCC) president Thakre was telling former minister and senior state party leader Chaturvedi.

“The chief minister (Ashok Chavan) called up and said he will deposit Rs 2 crore to hire 2,000 buses today (Thursday),” he continued.

“That is good, he does it for a change, instead of telling others to do (arrange money),” Chaturvedi remarked, jokingly. Later, an embarrassed Chavan swung in to do some damage control and denied any wrong doing in arranging money.

Talking to reporters, he said there is nothing wrong if ministers arrange money for a political rally, and also claimed that the party had receipts of paying the state road transport corporation to arrange 2,000 buses. However, it is not yet clear from where the money was sourced.

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