Prashant Bhushan criticizes Gadkari over Purti Group graft charges

Last Updated: Tue, Oct 23, 2012 14:31 hrs

Anti graft crusader Prashant Bhushan on Tuesday criticized Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari over corruption charges after a leading English newspaper published a report exposing the corruption involved in his deals.

One of the country's leading English daily, published a report earlier in the day which claimed that shell companies have invested in Gadkari's Purti Group.

An infrastructure company called Ideal Road Builders (IRB) allegedly has given a loan of rupees 1.65 billions to Purti Ltd two years after IRB was awarded road contracts by Gadkari during his tenure as power minister in western Maharashtra state.

Bhushan said that there should be an agency to look into the matter impartially, so that the actual details of the matter are surfaced.

"All this money belonged to Gadkariji, but he was not in a state to how it all came to him. The money was invested in his company by different fake companies which had been running from slums and other such places. A loan of 610 million rupees (61 crores) was given to this company by an IRB company which had received several contracts during the time when Gadkariji was a minister in Maharashtra. If this is not corruption, if this is not illegal, if this is not the violations of the Company Tax and the Income Tax acts, then what is it? And who would be investigating it? Investigations for the Company Tax and Income Tax acts are done by the federal government. And Congress is in power there," he said.

Another anti graft crusader. Arvind Kejriwal, had recently exposed Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra and Chief of India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Nitin Gadkari in cases of false land deals.

Meanwhile, corruption also heated up against ruling Congress party leader Virbhadra Singh after another leading English daily, The Hindu, published a report exposing the dubious income tax returns and land scams related to it.

Reports emerged showing that at the time that Singh allegedly received kickbacks, huge cash deposits were made in the bank account of his business partner Anand Chauhan.

Singh has been accused of allegedly receiving kickbacks to the tune of 20.3 million rupees from Ispat Industries when he was the federal steel minister between 2009 and 2010.

Questions are also being raised over some entries in the income tax documents he has filed as part of his nomination. The entries in the revised tax returns show a 30 times jump in his income from agricultural activities - mainly apple orchards managed by Anand Chauhan.

Bhushan gave out the details of the fiscal anomalies in Singh's tax returns as per the report published.

"Suddenly in March 03 or 02, 2012, the income tax returns for the three years were revised. The income which was shown for rupees 5.5 million instead of rupees 5 crores (50 million) , it was increased ten times and shown more than rupees 5 crores, a new agreement is shown in the name of one Anand Chauhan that he was managing it. That Anand Chauhan's account reveals that the 5 crores were deposited in cash in different days as the same dates that the dairy reveals of Virbhadra Singh receiving money. The money is then invested in the LIC's mutual funds in his name. Now he gives out the declaration that he has deposited the rupees 5 crores in the

LIC in his name. If this is not corruption then what is it?" asserted Bhushan.

The expose came at a time when Singh has been engrossed in campaigning in the northern Himachal Pradesh state as it is set to witness state polls later this month.

The report on Gadkari has also brought in reactions from several regional parties in Maharashtra, and Shiv Sena party feels that the BJP chief is the victim of some conspiracy.

"Nitin Gadkari has given forth his clarification and also his party. If a newspaper published anything about a politician then his view should also come out in full. We stated earlier as well that some power is conspiring against Gadkari so that he no longer remains in the politics of Delhi. It is also an effort to stop him from becoming the president of his party for the second time. That is why again and again the old issues are being brought forth to the limelight," he said.

Initially, the charges levelled against chief of country's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Nitin Gadkari surprised several observers and political analysts since certain parties like the BJP had been sympathetic to Kejriwal and his movement, which was earlier led by social activist Anna Hazare.

Multi-billion dollar corruption scandals have added to middle class frustration with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government's record on corruption.

A bill to create a Lokpal (ombudsman) with powers to root out corrupt officials in India's sprawling bureaucracy was first proposed in 1968 but it languished until

Hazare's relentless campaign forced the issue on the political establishment.

Thousands under the banner of IAC took to the streets in the summer of 2011, forcing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to bow to their demands and agree to institute a powerful body of Lokpal. (ANI)

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