RSS refuses to comment on Gadkari issue

Last Updated: Wed, Oct 24, 2012 10:15 hrs

Nagpur: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Wednesday refused to comment on the graft charges leveled against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Nitin Gadkari and called it an 'internal matter' of the India's main opposition party.

"Gadkari issue is BJP's internal matter. We are not going to comment on it," Bhagwat said.

Slamming the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government on the issue of corruption he said there was a demand for a strong Lokpal but 'it is not being done'.

"There is a demand for a strong Lokpal to fight corruption. But it is not being done," Bhagwat said while delivering his annual Vijaya Dashami day address.

Bhagwat was also seen sharing the dais with Gadkari.

Gadkari, meanwhile, refused to speak to media when asked if he would resign from his post in the wake of such demands coming from his own party members like Ram Jethmalani.

Voices within the BJP demanded that Gadkari must step down while others continued batting for the tainted party president, even as Congress leader Digvijaya Singh wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to get the political leader's business deals investigated.

Legal eagle and BJP senior leader Ram Jethmalani 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.

The government said it is conducting a "discreet inquiry" to find out if any irregularities have been committed in companies formerly held by Gadkari.

Speaking to a daily, corporate affairs minister M Veerappa Moily said the Registrar of Companies (RoC) has been asked to send a report on the alleged source of funding of the Purti group of industries, set up by Gadkari in 2001.

Earlier on Tuesday 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.

Gadkari on 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.

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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