Essar Leaks: Nitin Gadkari says ‘invited’ to yacht, Congress rejects claim

Gadkari said there was no conflict of interest as it was an invitation from a friend who owned the yacht.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Updated: February 28, 2015 8:28 am
Nitin Gadkari, Essar Leaks, Gadkari yacht Gadkari said there was no conflict of interest as it was an invitation from a friend who owned the yacht. (Source: PTI)

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said Friday he had been “invited to visit” an Essar Group luxury yacht in the waters of the French Riviera in July 2013 and he and his family spent two days on board.

A public interest litigation was filed in the Supreme Court by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation after The Indian Express reported Friday how a “whistleblower” had decided to go public with Essar Group’s internal company communications — the correspondence are attached to the petition as instances of alleged impropriety.

The petitioner demanded a court-monitored investigation into an alleged unholy nexus of Essar Group with politicians, bureaucrats and journalists to promote its business interests. Essar emails show that Gadkari, his wife, two sons and daughter spent two nights on a company yacht in the French Riviera between July 7 and July 9, 2013.

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Gadkari told reporters in Mumbai that his visit cannot be construed as conflict of interest since he did not seek or advance any special favours to the yacht owners. “While we were there, I was invited to visit the yacht on the Riviera waterfront. I responded as I wanted to see the yacht. I along with my family spent two days on the yacht.”

“I would have been too happy to pay for the ticket to board the yacht. But since it was an invitation from a friend, I sought the hospitality. The only mode of reaching the yacht was via chopper which we availed. Obviously, I wouldn’t have gone swimming (to the yacht).”

“It has always been my hobby to visit places and see new things. The visit to the yacht was in the same way. I have seen seaplanes and water buses. In fact, I am getting seaplanes and water buses to Mumbai… At that time I was neither a MP nor a minister nor a BJP president,” he said.
In New Delhi, the Congress rejected Gadkari’s explanation that there was no conflict of interest.

Congress spokesman P C Chacko said no corporate house would extend any benefit to anybody for free and Gadkari’s explanation that he was a nobody at that point of time cannot be taken seriously. “The company knew that he is important in his party, that he is going to be somebody more important, and then they will get some benefit out of that,” he said.

“It is for politicians to keep away from such temptations. We were in power for 20 years when the liberalisation happened since 1991. Hardly anybody’s name was associated with this kind of thing,” he said.

Asked that Essar emails show that some Congress leaders, including Digvijaya Singh and Motilal Vora and former union minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, had referred candidates for jobs in the company, he said “whoever can give jobs, we have to write to them”.

“And somebody has made some recommendation for a job…..they can give, they cannot say no also. They made some recommendation for jobs…whoever can give jobs we have to write to them. We are in public life, so we may write to them. But other than that, using their chopper or their guest house… these kinds of facilities of the company which politicians use is not a good thing. Companies or corporates, whosoever is offering these, they will definitely expect a quid pro quo,” Chacko said.

But his Congress colleague Rajiv Shukla made light of Gadkari’s yacht ride. “It should not be made a big issue… I do not think it is a very big thing. If anyone travels in someone’s cruise boat, I am not in favour of raising it in a big way,” Shukla said.

Gadkari’s ministerial colleague Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi declined comment saying “such rubbish keeps coming and I don’t think one should react to them on a daily basis.”

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  1. V
    Vikram
    Feb 28, 2015 at 1:44 am
    Abe Effile Tower dekh liya hota :-)
    Reply
    1. R
      ramesh talwar
      Feb 27, 2015 at 8:25 pm
      “At that time I was neither a MP nor a minister nor a BJP president.” That is called Investment! Isn't he so morally and ethically innocent to cultivate the hospitality of a friend!
      Reply
      1. A
        asha
        Feb 27, 2015 at 8:54 pm
        How honest and innocent! Does he think that the people of India are fools!
        Reply
        1. A
          arjun
          Feb 28, 2015 at 11:22 am
          Gadkari likes luxuries. He is not a Modi or a Nitishkumar or a Antony.
          Reply
          1. B
            Bikram Seth
            Feb 28, 2015 at 1:41 pm
            I agree with what Congress leader Rajiv Shukla has said about this issue. He has made light of Gadkari’s yacht ride. “It should not be made a big issue… I do not think it is a very big thing. If anyone travels in someone’s cruise boat, I am not in favour of raising it in a big way,” Shukla said. Some people are trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.
            Reply
            1. K
              Kaliyug
              Feb 28, 2015 at 4:28 am
              Gadkhari has now redefined fraud with his own legitimacy explanation. why did Essar not invite me to the Yatch,? Or any hundreds of Indians who live in France? The nexus between politicians and businessmen for mutual benefit has been going on for a long time, Congress wrote the rules of fraud, now BJP is practicing the same fraud. Gadkari has to go, fired, put in jail. I bet that the tickets to Norway were also paid by someone else. Norway is very cold and I wonder what Gadkari and family went to see?
              Reply
              1. V
                Vbandhu
                Feb 28, 2015 at 4:00 am
                Ie is trying so hard... common, what happened to terror boat?..
                Reply
                1. V
                  Vbandhu
                  Feb 28, 2015 at 4:00 am
                  Can we ume , it was Shekhar Gupta?
                  Reply
                  1. K
                    Krish
                    Feb 28, 2015 at 2:29 am
                    All our established political parties are members in this cooperative society. Its just a money minting job for them. Thieves will leave at least some of your necessities when they do their jobs. You cannot expect even that courtesy from these seasoned criminals.
                    Reply
                    1. P
                      Parappur
                      Feb 28, 2015 at 6:50 am
                      I think he has a sense of humor. O r is he stupid that public will believe him.
                      Reply
                      1. E
                        emmarcee
                        Feb 28, 2015 at 5:25 pm
                        Let the law work its way. But that will not happen.
                        Reply
                        1. E
                          emmarcee
                          Feb 28, 2015 at 5:26 pm
                          But mommy Chacha said he will give me candy. Oo poor boy
                          Reply
                          1. S
                            Satya Paul
                            Feb 28, 2015 at 12:03 am
                            I can agree that Gadkari used the hospitality. But why dont the media name the journalists, congress ministers, even Diggi? I put it you that Arnab Goswami has been taking favours from corporates and govts! Can you, Mr. arnab give a satisfactory reply to me? But mind it while accepting your replies, I'll also ask you the same type of questions you ask others.
                            Reply
                            1. R
                              Rangaesh Gadasalli
                              Feb 27, 2015 at 10:57 pm
                              Mr Ghadkari has been a top business man for many years before he became a well known BJP leaders. can he not afford to take his family on a vacation any where? making comments and accusing him of accepting cheap cruise tickets to do favours is hitting a man below the belt most un fairly. This should be condemned by one and all.
                              Reply
                              1. G
                                gary george
                                Feb 28, 2015 at 2:40 pm
                                I do not trust Mr.Gadkari. He is not known to be an honest man.
                                Reply
                                1. G
                                  gary george
                                  Feb 28, 2015 at 2:40 pm
                                  Or like the CM of Tripura, Mr.Manik Sarkar
                                  Reply
                                  1. G
                                    gzam
                                    Feb 28, 2015 at 4:07 pm
                                    these people has to be outcast from the society. no should deal or have any sort of relation with these chors,, if they do have is a chor tooo..any person standing left or rigth with these people is a chor tooo....
                                    Reply
                                    1. G
                                      gzam
                                      Feb 28, 2015 at 4:11 pm
                                      we should call these people as chor....
                                      Reply
                                      1. G
                                        gzam
                                        Feb 28, 2015 at 4:09 pm
                                        Gadkari chor.....Uske ladke ke hath pe bhi likh do uska baaap chor hai.....lol
                                        Reply
                                        1. G
                                          gzam
                                          Feb 28, 2015 at 4:10 pm
                                          Suresh Hattangadi chor..mision liya kya....
                                          Reply
                                          1. G
                                            gzam
                                            Feb 28, 2015 at 4:05 pm
                                            chor .......
                                            Reply
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