New Delhi: Creating more trouble for beleaguered BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, India Against Corruption (IAC) led by RTI activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal has dared the UPA government to book the opposition party president under the Prevention of Corruption Act for his alleged wrongdoings.
Talking to reporters, Kejriwal yesterday said that fresh revelations made by leading media houses on Nitin Gadkari’s alleged corporate fraud have vindicated IAC’s stand that Congress and BJP were hand in glove on corruption.
Later talking to a news channel, Kejriwal’s close aide and noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan also demanded that Gadkari be booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act for misusing his office as a PWD Minister and giving undue benefits to a company that loaned the firm Purti Power and Sugar Ltd controlled by him.
“Gadkari took a loan of 164 Rs crore from a company to whom he had given various benefits as a PWD Minister of Maharastra. Therefore, under the Prevention of Corruption Act, if a public servant receives any kind of gratification for himself or any other person from a company with whom he has official dealings as a public servant than that amounts to corruption under Prevention of Corruption Act,” Bhushan was quoted as saying.
Spelling trouble for Gadkari, the government yesterday decided to go into allegations of dubious funding in his companies which cast a shadow over him getting a second term as party president in December.
As embarrassing details tumbled out about the funding for Purti Power and Sugar Ltd run by Gadkari, Corporate Affairs Minister M Veerappa Moily said as the information on the issue has come in public domain, the Registrars of Companies will "definitely inquire into it".
"We have not ordered anything. It is all coming in the newspapers. Since it has come in public domain, we told our Ministry to make some discreet inquiry to find out what exactly is the matter. Are there any violations of Companies Act?" he said.
When asked whether the business dealings of Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, will also be scrutinised, he said the two issues were separate and there was no link between them.
Media reports have raised questions over the source of funds for Purti Power and Sugar Ltd controlled by Gadkari. Media investigations claim that major investments and large loans to Purti were made by a construction firm Ideal Road Builders (IRB) group, which had won contracts between 1995 and 1999, when Gadkari was PWD minister in Maharashtra. Gadkari has denied the allegations and offered himself and his companies to any probe.
BJP attacked the government saying its approach was "selective and prejudiced" about dealing with Gadkari issue while ignoring corruption allegations against Vadra and former Union minister Virbhadra Singh. The party said it endorses the stand of Gadkari that he was open to any investigation by any competent authority.
Adding to Gadkari`s discomfiture, his party MP Ram Jethmalani demanded his resignation in the wake of corruption allegations and asked him not to seek a second term in office.
"In the interest of the party, in his own interest, he should get out of the fray now and he must give the position to somebody who inspires greater confidence. He should not aspire for a second term," he said.
"Obviously, there is suspicion about his integrity and in the interest of the party and his own interest he must get out of this position. It weakens the party position. In the coming elections we are fighting against corruption and we have to have a man of absolute impeccable integrity," he said.
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, who has been attacking Gadkari, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, seeking an investigation into the dealings of Gadkari`s company.
"Gadkari has also said that he is open to a free and fair investigation. Being the national president of BJP, it is in the fitness of things that his case is properly investigated and he gets a fair opportunity to prove his innocence and clear his name," Digvijay Singh wrote in his letter.
(With PTI inputs)