Gadkari should step down: Jethmalani

Last Updated: Sat, Oct 27, 2012 18:03 hrs

New Delhi, Oct 23 (IBNS) Voices within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are now demanding that tainted party president Nitin Gadkari must step down, even as Congress leader Digvijaya Singh wrote to the Prime Minister to get the political leader's business deals investigated.

Legal eagle and BJP senior leader Ram Jethmalani speaking to news channel CNN-IBN said Gadkari should not be appointed as the chief of BJP for the second term in the light of the serious corruption charges.

He said Gadkari´s association with the BJP will harm its campaign against corruption.

However, officially BJP spokespersons kept up a brave face and continued to defend Gadkari.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh continuing his tirade against Gadkari wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, demanding an inquiry into his business deals and into the Purti group he is associated with by submitting "proofs.

He said a case against Gadkari prima facies exists and requested the PM to forward his letter to the Corporate Affairs Ministry for an inquiry by its Serious Fraud Investigation Office.

He said since Gadkari himself is open to an inquiry, in the fitness of things the same should be instituted by the appropriate ministry.

Union Corporate Affairs Minister Veerappa Moily on Tuesday said the government would probe the charges against Nitin Gadkari and his business group.

"We will find out for any violation and then investigate," Moily told a TV channel in reaction to the various charges levelled against him and his Purti group by social activists and some media houses.

"If there is anything in public domain we will inquire and get a report," he said.

However, moments later, the BJP hit back with a press conference to say the Congress government is taking a biased line in investigating the politicians.

"Ministers are taking partisan lines," said BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman, pointing out how Gadakri is being targetted while Sonia Gandhi´s son-in-law Robert Vadra was spared.

"Mr Gadkari himself has offered to be probed by a competent authority," said Sitharaman.

She also referred to the corruption case against former Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh of Congress, calling it an open and shut case of corruption in high level.

Nitin Gadkari Saturday refuted the charges of using shell companies to fund his business and of receiving investments from contractors in Maharashtra.

Political opponents of the BJP chief had alleged that Gadkari´s Purti group of companies accepted loans and investments from DP Mhaiskar, the founder of the Ideal Road Builders, which are quid pro quo.

Gadkari, denying the charges, told NDTV that he has not done any favours to Ideal Road Builders.

He said, "I can accept equity from anyone, there is nothing wrong. I am friends with Mr Mhaiskar and many contractors are my friends. Purti has losses of Rs 64 crores, Mhaiskar loaned me Rs 165 crores from his company, and I have repaid him Rs 64 crores."

The news channel had earlier reported that the companies that are named as the investors of Gadkari´s company apparently did not exist.

Earlier social activists turned politician Arvind Kejriwal accused Gadkari of having ties with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Maharashtra to boost his business interests in Vidarbha region at the cost of poor farmers.

Gadkari opposing the charges said, this is an effort to politically malign him.

He said that his efforts were focused on helping farmers in Vidarbha.

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