British prime minister Tony Blair has dismissed as "nonsense" allegations of any impropriety in
the grant of passport to the two London-based Hinduja
brothers, Srichand and Gopichand, describing them as leading
members of the Asian community.
Questioned in BBC's Newsnight programme, Blair justified
the decision to sack one of his senior cabinet ministers Peter
Mandelson, who had found himself in the eye of a controversy
in regard to grant of passport to S.P. Hinduja.
It was a harsh but necessary decision because "people had
been inadvertently misled" by Mandelson with regard to his
role in the grant of passport, he said.
Asked why minister for Europe Keith Vaz, regarded as
close to the Hindujas, was not sacked, Blair said "he had done
absolutely nothing to mislead people. He had acted entirely
The interviewer referred to a "cloud" hanging over the
two Hinduja brothers in India in relation to the Bofors
inquiry and asked the prime minister if he was comfortable
with the "kind of letters" exchanged between him and Hindujas
which had recently found their way to the media.
Blair answered he was "perfectly comfortable" with them
and said the so-called "shadow" was "something 20 years out of
When asked whether he would take money from the Hindujas
again, Blair replied he had not taken money from them but the
Hinduja foundation had donated money to several causes in
Britain. The Labour party had not taken any money from them,