Nationalist Party MP Ivan Bartolo has denied ever helping people fraudulently tap social benefits, after Labour pundit and talk show host Manuel Cuschieri linked him to the scam.
"I never referred people to anyone to get any benefit they were not entitled to," Bartolo said in a Facebook post.
"If Manuel Cuschieri has information otherwise, he should stop playing the Labour Party's partisan game and go straight to the Police Commissioner. Meanwhile, Manuel Cuschieri should ensure he doesn't use his friends' dirt to smear other people."
Cuschieri mentioned Bartolo by name on his radio show 'Linja Diretta' on Smash on Monday, while speaking about the social benefits fraud racket.
He said it was time for him to start mentioning names of PN-linked people, suggesting they might also be involved in the racket.
"Enough time has passed for me to start mentioning names myself, and today I will begin from the first one," he said.
"I'm asking Mosta MP Ivan Bartolo - have you ever referred anyone to Silvio Grixti? It's a straightforward answer, just a yes or a no."
He did not provide further information or explain why he was singling out Bartolo, and left the question hanging before moving on to another subject.
Details of the benefit fraud racket were revealed earlier this month by Times of Malta, which exposed how ex-Labour MP Silvio Grixti helped "hundreds" of people claim disability benefits that they were not entitled to, using falsified medical documents.
Last week Robert Abela insisted that no serving Labour officials or MPs directed anyone to commit any irregularity but added that the same question should be asked to the PN, implying members of the Opposition party could be involved.
Ongoing investigations by Times of Malta have, so far, not revealed involvement by any PN MP or by anyone active within the PN.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, party Secretary General Michael Piccinino flatly denied having any indication that PN MPs could be implicated in the racket and dismissed the claims as a Labour "spin".
Piccinino was reacting to a Malta Today article alleging that he sat on information about the racket for seven weeks because of the possible involvement of a number of PN MPs.
Speaking on his radio show on Monday, Cuschieri said that the Opposition had fallen into confusion and disarray after Labour raised questions about PN involvement in the racket.
"They are confused because now they have started questioning whether people from among themselves might have had an active role in the whole story," he said.
Cuschieri described Grixti, the GP and former MP at the heart of allegations, to be a kindhearted doctor who helps people without seeking to make money off of them and who helps everyone equally, even those outside his district.
'Abela should go to the police if he knows anything' - PN
In reply to questions on Tuesday, the PN said Robert Abela should shy away from engaging in a partisan argument to shift attention from whoever might be implicated in the social benefits scandal.
"If Abela has any information on the matter, he should pass it to the Police Commissioner who must open an inquiry into the allegations brought forward over the last weeks," it said.
"The Commissioner must not be Abela’s pawn and must adhere to his responsibilities."
It said the story is a "scandal" and that individuals in the Labour Party forged signatures to buy votes and defrauded millions in taxpayer money.
"For the sake of our country, Robert Abela is running out of excuses to cover the institutionalised corruption by his own government, by his own office," it said.