Bangalore: Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda on Thursday rubbished claims by his son and former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy that he and his father had been offered bribes for defence deals.

Within hours of Kumaraswamy's claim here of middlemen approaching him and his father with bribes, Gowda, who was Prime Minister during 1996-97, told reporters that "nobody had approached him".

On his son's claim at a press meet, he said he did not know why he had made them.Kumaraswamy, while making the claim, declined to give details of who sought to bribe him and for which deal and how much bribe was offered.

On why he was revealing this information now, Kumaraswamy said he was provoked into making it public following Army chief General VK Singh's claim that he was offered Rs14 crore for permitting the purchase of sub-standard vehicles for the Indian Army.

Gowda approached for bribe: Kumaraswamy

Fifteen years after his father's stint as Prime Minister, former Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Thursday claimed that H D Deve Gowda was offered bribe by middlemen involved in defence deals but the JD(S) supremo categorically denied it.

"The middlemen had approached me and my father with an offer of bribe to strike a defence deal. This when my father was prime minister in 1996," Kumaraswamy said, adding grist to the raging controversy over bribery charges in defence procurement. He, however, did not provide any evidence to support his claim.

Hours after he made this claim at a news conference, Kumaraswamy attempted to shield his father saying Gowda did not have any information about middlemen having approached him with a bribe to strike a defence deal.

"Some middlemen had approached me to offer bribe but Deve Gowda doesn't know it. He is not the person in this issue," he said. Gowda was Prime Minister between June 1996 and April 1997.

Kumaraswamy said since the offer came to him around 16 years ago, he could not recollect which was the defence deal that the middlemen wanted to strike. The current controversy has been fuelled by Army Chief General V K Singh's claim that he was offered Rs 14 crore kickback to clear a substandard defence deal.

Kumaraswamy said that he was an MP when his father was the Prime Minister.

"But I did not support the middlemen and did not yield. In Delhi, the lobby of middlemen in various departments is normal," he added.

Asked why he was sharing the details after a long gap, Kumaraswamy said the army chief's action had prompted him to do so.

Gowda while reacting to Kumaraswamy's remarks said his son never approached him with any recommendation of middlemen to strike a defence deal. "I am not aware of any offer made to me," he added.

"No MP or anybody approached me when I was PM," he said.

The JDS national president, however, said someone could have made a bribe offer to Kumaraswamy in a "casual way."

"In fact, during my Prime Ministership, I ensured middlemen did not approach me," Gowda said. He also said he was never influenced by anybody.

(Agencies)