Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, claimed suggestions Edinburgh had to abide by his department's rules on land sales were not true and called on the First Minister to take responsibility and explain his Government's decision.
But last night a spokesman for Keith Brown, the Scottish Transport Minister, said: "Danny Alexander has got his facts wrong and, in any case, this the height of hypocrisy from anyone in the Treasury, given the record of various Westminster departments in squandering huge sums of taxpayers' cash."
The land was sold for £840,000 in 2008 in preparation for Garl, but after the project fell through it was sold back this year for £50,000 to the original owner, the car park operator Airlink Group, putting the loss to the taxpayer at £790,000.
Earlier this week, a Scottish Government spokesman said: "As has been public knowledge for several years, the Scottish Government is not permitted to hold on to surplus land as a means of speculating on land values. Consistent with Treasury rules, we were obliged to dispose of this site. The land was eventually sold following a public auction, which was open to all bidders."
But Mr Alexander insisted Treasury rules on land sales did not apply to Scotland.
He said that when an asset was sold below market value, the difference between the amount received and the market value was treated by the UK Government as a gift; any gift over £300,000 had to get Treasury permission.
"Of course, that does not apply in Scotland," Mr Alexander said, "but I would assume that, given the massive mark-down of this asset value that someone in the finance department of the Scottish Government scrutinised this for value for money and approved it. I certainly hope they did."
The Chief Secretary described the land deal as "pretty extraordinary", noting: "It's pretty shocking that you should see a nearly 95% loss on this." He pointed out if the Garl land issue had occurred south of the Border, those involved would have had to have a "pretty bloody good justification to persuade the Treasury".
The Liberal Democrat Highland MP urged Mr Salmond to "come clean", saying: "For a Government that wishes to take more responsibility by becoming independent, every time they make a mistake or get into difficulties they seek to deflect the blame on to someone else speaks volumes.
"This is a Scottish Government decision, it is completely within their power to decide whether or not to do this, they should take responsibility for their decisions and explain precisely why they feel, what we would treat as a gift of this size, is appropriate."
Earlier this week, the Garl land deal generated political heat at Holyrood when Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont asked if there was any connection between it and Airlink boss John McGlynn's backing for independence.
Mr Salmond stressed ministers were not involved in land deals and accused her of a "fairly blatant attempt to smear a perfectly respectable Scottish businessperson". For his part, Mr McGlynn demanded an apology from Ms Lamont, noting how he had never expressed support for the Yes campaign. Last year, he said he would "most likely" back independence.
Labour MSP James Kelly said: "This is not about any individual businessman. This is about the Scottish Government squandering taxpayers' cash. We need the SNP Government to tell us how much money was wasted and which ministers signed off these deals."