The former BJP president, Nitin Gadkari, on Thursday lashed out at the Congress, the media and Income Tax officials “for defaming an honest karyakarta [party worker].”

“The Congress party and the UPA government planned a conspiracy to defame me by making false propaganda against me. But now I will expose the corruption of all Congress leaders. Until now, as president of the BJP, I had some limitations, but now I am a free man. And I dare the Congress to say and do all that you want against me.”

Mr. Gadkari was given a grand welcome by BJP workers at the Nagpur airport on his arrival after resigning from presidentship of the saffron party.

Addressing hundreds of supporters near the airport, Mr. Gadkari said: “Until now the Congress party has misused the CBI. They [Congress leaders] used it [the CBI] as a tool. Now they are using the Income Tax department. Night and day, IT officials are working overtime on these cases [related to the Purti group]. I know which officers are involved in this and what they are doing and how they are implicating me. Some officers who sympathise with the BJP and me have told me what kind of conspiracy is being planned. They [IT officers inquiring about the Purti group] should remember that the Congress party is like a sinking boat and it will go soon. When our party comes to power, there will be no Chidambaram or Sonia Gandhi to save you [IT people].”

Questioning the timing of IT raids on the companies in Mumbai, he said: “Deliberately a day before I was going to submit the form for the [party] election, some offices of companies in Mumbai were searched. It was not a raid but a simple search and not a single document was confiscated. But the media was invited. Inquiry was done, but deliberately I was given a summons, they came to my house and asked me to sign on it. I was asked why I mortgaged my house in Mumbai and helped Purti financially. I told them that this was true and that I helped Purti when it was in trouble. I have publicly given an affidavit about my property of Rs.13 crore but one Congress leader alleged that I own property worth Rs.1,000 crore. I challenge him if he can show Rs. 987 crore; I will donate it to him.”

“There was an attempt to defame me and the party [the BJP] by making false allegations and when all this started the day before yesterday [Tuesday], I considered it better to resign,” said Mr. Gadkari.

“Fake news”

“I would like to convey this to the media that ours is a democratic country and if we [politicians] commit mistakes, you have full right to run it as the breaking news. But the Indian Constitution has not given you the right to destroy the careers of honest workers and politicians. Some people from the media, by running fake news, played an important role in this [political conspiracy] ... kyomki unki dukan hai [they have their business]. But I have kept ready a record of all this.”

He said the Congress and the UPA government were practising vindictive politics. “They blackmail Mulayam Singh and Mayawati by showing a CBI file. They have sent [Om Prakash] Chautala to jail by implicating him. When our government was in power, we did not resort to this kind of politics against Congress leaders. But the truth will come out in open very soon,” said Mr. Gadkari.

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