Mumbai: Coming out in support of comedian Kapil Sharma, who is in the middle of a controversy over his bribery tweet, Congress on Tuesday said BJP's "dirty tricks department" was targeting the artiste as he dared to speak about alleged corruption in the civic body.
"There is a 'dirty tricks department' in the BJP which swings into action whenever anyone raises fingers at it. The same is happening here with Sharma, who dared to take up the issue of corruption prevailing in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)," Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam said.
The former MP said he was not supporting the alleged violation that Sharma may have done, but claimed that the TV personality-cum-actor was being "victimised by the BJP."
"If he (Sharma) has done something wrong, law will take its own course, but I want to expose the way by which he is being victimised by antics and dirty tricks of BJP," he said.
Attacking Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavi, Nirupam said, "The CM does not have any moral right to seek action against Sharma's so called violations as his own office as well as many government establishments have been constructed by flouting norms."
"When I had raised the issue of illegal gym built and run by his own minister Ravindra Waikar, the Chief Minister gave an imaginary figure that there were nearly 3,000 illegal gyms running across the city in order to protect his minister. So why only Sharma is being singled out and victimised?" he asked.
The Congress leader had yesterday written to Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, alleging there were several illegal constructions linked to political parties in the city, including the CM's bungalow, BJP head office at Nariman Point and most shakhas (branch offices) of Shiv Sena.
Countering Nirupam's allegations, Mumbai BJP spokesperson Ram Kadam said the comments did not suit Congress which itself was "marred by corruption".
"We have supported Kapil Sharma for raising the issue and filed a complaint against the officer who demanded bribe from him," he said.
Meanwhile, filmmaker and activist Ashoke Pandit pointed fingers at the actor, claiming, "Sharma himself first broke the law and (is) now dragging someone else." Pandit, who is also convenor of Save Open Spaces, said the nexus between builders, architects, politicians and BMC officials have caused a grave damage to the city's ecological system and that it had to be broken.
He also lashed out at politicians for jumping into the bandwagon for taking political mileage out of the controversy.
Sharma had kicked up a row last week by alleging that he had been asked to pay a bribe of Rs five lakh by an official of BMC which, in turn, claimed that the actor had flouted norms in his Versova office building and his apartment in suburban Goregaon.
An FIR was also registered against the comedian in this regard on Monday....