Gadkari downplays Advanis apology to Sonia

Mumbai: BJP President Nitin Gadkari on Thursday tried to play down the apology offered by senior party leader L K Advani to Congress president Sonia Gandhi over a report prepared by BJP task force which alleged that she and her late husband, Rajiv Gandhi, had accounts in Swiss banks.

"Advani wrote a letter to Sonia Gandhi expressing regret if she was hurt by any such allegation or statement…

He mentioned the apology (only) in ending the letter, but media blew it up (by saying) that he wrote an apology letter," Gadkari said.

The BJP chief however avoided commenting on the statement by senior lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani, who was one of the members of the task force, that he (Jethmalani) was firm on the allegations even after Advani`s apology.

The task force had been appointed to find out details about black money kept by Indians in foreign banks, and to discuss ways to bring it back. The report had alleged that Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had Swiss bank accounts.

Sonia then wrote to Advani, denying the accusation.

Advani replied by expressing regret.