Irrigation scam claims: Gadkari defends himself

Last Updated: Mon, Oct 08, 2012 19:17 hrs

Gadchiroli: BJP President Nitin Gadkari on Monday said he had done nothing wrong by writing a letter to the Centre regarding release of funds for an irrigation project in Maharashtra.

"I did it in the interest of the farmers and have nothing to do with the interest of contractors. I will write 100 such letters," he said.

Gadkari was addressing a farmers rally at Desaiganj in Naxal-hit Gadchiroli district in Vidarbha region.

The BJP chief, who hails from Nagpur in Vidarbha, courted controversy last week over a letter he wrote to the Centre seeking release of funds for an irrigation project, Gosikhurd, in which an associate of his is said to be a contractor.

Gadkari wrote to Union Water Resources Minister P K Bansal on July 30 this year asking him to clear the dues of the contractors involved in the project though no names were mentioned.

Leaders of ruling Congress and NCP in Maharashtra, including Manikrao Thakre, Praful Patel, Madhukar Pichad and Vilas Muttemwar have written similar letters. They have also not done anything wrong by doing so, Gadkari said.

The BJP leader said he had no professional relations with NCP president Sharad Pawar, as claimed by an RTI activist, or party MP and businessman Ajay Sancheti.

"If these charges are proved, I will donate all my property," he said.

The cost of Gosikhurd project in Bhandara district had escalated manifold, but it has not been completed yet due to which farmers are suffering, he said on the letter he wrote.

The Congress-led governments in Maharashtra and the Centre are not at all worried about the farmers, Gadkari alleged, adding that, "Time has come to dethrone them and vote BJP to power."

The Gosikhurd project, hanging fire for the last 28 years, will be completed within two years if BJP comes to power, he said.

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