Rising BJP star denies taking money from a mining firm for diamond rights India's junior environment minister Dilip Singh Judeo offered to resign yesterday after he was secretly filmed allegedly taking money in exchange for a promise to providing diamond-mining rights to an unidentified Australian mining conglomerate. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has publicly ordered an inquiry and promised to take action 'if Mr Judeo is found guilty'. But it was unclear yesterday if Mr Vajpayee had accepted the offer of resignation. The prime minister was already facing a complaint from India's chief vigilance commissioner that at least six of his ministers are using their positions to extort money. In the latest scandal, a video aired by a television news channels showed Mr Judeo accepting a large bundle of currency notes from a man lobbying for the mining company, touching it to his forehead, and exclaiming: 'Money isn't God, but I swear on God, it's not less than God either.' These words are likely to haunt a politician who used God and religion very effectively to propel his meteoric rise in public life. A former prince who sports a handlebar moustache, Mr Judeo gained notoriety for his confrontations with Christian missionaries working among the tribes of the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh. Though educated by Catholics, Mr Judeo became a radical Hindu leader, and claims to have 'reconverted' more than 100,000 people from Christianity to Hinduism. He also announced in February 2000 that he would bear the legal expenses for Dara Singh, the notorious radical Hindu recently sentenced to death for the brutal murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons in the eastern state of Orissa. After the Indian Express newspaper revealed the existence of the videotape on Sunday, Mr Judeo initially refused to resign, and alleged that it had been fabricated by his political opponents 'with the help of an international lobby of Christian missionaries'. The scandal comes as a severe blow to the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at a time when it is facing crucial assembly elections in five provinces, including Chhattisgarh. The BJP heads a multi-party coalition government but rules in only three Indian states, against 16 states its rival, the Congress party, controls. Mr Judeo has run a colourful campaign in Chhattisgarh, promising to shave his moustache if he lost the elections. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has demanded he be sacked and arrested.