An RTI activist has alleged that BJP president Nitin Gadkari did not want her to pursue the irrigation scam in Maharashtra,a charged dismissed as baseless today by the saffron party which accused the Congress of being behind a disinformation campaign.
RTI whistleblower Anjali Damania claimed that when she met Gadkari in Mumbai the BJP chief said he would not take a stand on irrigation scam since he had a business relationship with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar. Gadkari has denied that she had met him.
Damania,a member of India Against Corruption (IAC),at a news conference in Mumbai in the presence of Arvind Kejriwal yesterday initially did not name Gadkari only alleging that “a president from the opposition party” from Maharashtra attempted to cover up the irrigation scam. Later,she named the BJP President and said she has met him thrice.
Damania had alleged that when she approached Gadkari to pursue the case against NCP leaders involved in the Rs 20,000 crore irrigation scam,he asked her not to go ahead.
She has alleged that Gadkari told her he has business interests with Pawar and that they extend mutual help where required.
The BJP rubbished the charge by Damania against Gadkari,alleging that the “dirty tricks” department of Congress is at work to derail the opposition’s on-going national conclave.
“On the eve of BJP’s national conclave a deliberate and planned effort is being made by the dirty tricks department of the Congress to defame Gadkari and to divert attention from the meet. We deny these baseless allegations,” party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters in Surajkund where the party’s National Council meet is underway,a day after the party’s National Executive meeting.
“The people of Maharashtra know that BJP has always been in the forefront in the fight against corruption and the irrigation scam. There is only one case filed in the irrigation scam and that is a PIL filed by our party secretary Kirit Somaiya,” Javadekar said.
Javadekar said BJP leader Devendra Phadnis had raised this issue three years back and demanded a White Paper.
“We have raised this irrigation scam in every Assembly session in Maharashtra as well as in every public meeting,” Javadekar said.
Amid the row whether or not Damania met Gadkari,Kejriwal said the meeting did take place.
“This is unfortunate for the country. There is no opposition in the country. If the president of the biggest Opposition party have business links with the leaders in ruling parties,then there is no difference between ruling and opposition parties,” he said.
Kejriwal also posed four questions to Gadkari asking whether he had ever raised the issue of involvement of NCP,Sharad Pawar or Ajit Pawar in the irrigation scam and why he has not voiced his opposition yet. Ajit Pawar has resigned over the scam which has triggered a crisis in the ruling Congress-NCP alliance in Maharashtra.
Gadkari was also asked whether he has any business links with Pawar and demanded that he make public his business interests.
Gadkari issues legal notice to irrigation scam whistleblower
Surajkund: BJP President Nitin Gadkari today served a legal notice on RTI activist Anjali Damania for alleging that he had tried to cover up the irrigation scam when she approached him and demanded an apology from her.
Gadkari’s counsel Shamshery & Associates served the legal notice on the BJP President’s behalf demanding that Damania retract forthwith the “false,baseless and defamatory remarks” and tender a public apology promptly.
It warns that in case of failure to do so,the counsel will be free to intiate appropriate legal proceedings against Damania,an RTI activist and member of NGO India Against Corruption.
In the notice,the lawyers have charged that Damania has given false statements to TV channels,which were also widely reported in newspapers,insinuating that Gadkari has business relations with Pawar and as a result of this he tried to dissuade her from proceeding in the irrigation scam.
It alleges that Damania falsely claims that Gadkari tried to restrain her from filing a PIL to expose the irrigation scam.
“My client strongly denies the false,baseless and defamatory statement that he has any business relations with Sharad Pawar.
“You are making such false and baseless statements only to make sensation with the object to defame my client,” the notice states.
Gadkari’s counsel maintained that BJP’s Maharashtra unit was the first to unearth the irrigation scam and has under taken public agitations in addition to appropriate legal remedy on this issue.
“My client states that the entire statements,you have stated are deliberate lie with an intention to slander my client and are designed to defame the reputation of my client,who being national president of BJP,ocupies a respected position in the political affairs of the nation as well as the society,” the notice says.
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