‘He has legally nothing to do with 14 firms in question’

Amid rumblings within the Bharatiya Janata Party on the clean chit given to its chief Nitin Gadkari by the top brass, RSS ideologue S. Gurumurthy on Wednesday asserted that Mr. Gadkari was neither legally nor morally culpable of any of the wrongdoings by the company owned by him.

On Tuesday, Mr. Gurumurthy, who claims to have scrutinised the records of Mr. Gadkari’s Purti Group, had a series of meetings with senior BJP leaders in a bid to convince them that the party president was a victim of a vilification campaign by vested interests and sections of the media.

On Wednesday, he tweeted explaining why he chose to bat for of the embattled BJP president and that he was completely convinced of his innocence.

Mr. Gurumurthy’s explanation came even as the BJP Member of Parliament Ram Jethmalani took exception to the party’s core committee giving Mr. Gadkari a clean chit.

Mr. Jethmalani, who has raised the banner of revolt against Mr. Gadkari, confirmed on Tuesday that he had written to L.K. Advani that he and senior leaders like Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha were of the firm view that allowing Mr. Gadkari to continue as chief would spell disaster for it.

Within hours of Mr. Jethmalani going public about the letter, the BJP core committee met and reaffirmed its support to Mr. Gadkari.

Mr. Gurumurthy said he has proof that the 14 companies in question belong to the Nagpur Group that has owned them since 2003. “So they did not own the 14 companies today. In that case I would have thought it was only a legal defence for Nitin.”

“The Nagpur Group has in writing to financial institutions owned the 14 companies as theirs in 2003-4. So they are not obliging Nitin now so saying. So I am convinced that Nitin has legally nothing to do with the 14 questioned cos. Morally he is clear because Nagpur has owned them in 2003/4”, he tweeted.

On the charge that Mr. Gadkari’s driver was a director in one of the companies, Mr. Gurumurthy said he was driver decades ago and now was a “supervisor.” “About astrologer, driver, etc that the main investors ask for nominees from management which suggests names ... That’s why Nitin said [at] first that he does now know how from where the investors in his companies invest. This shocked me first. Now realise now it’s true,” the RSS leader said.

Mr. Gurumurthy charged that media lacked skill and patience to study issues. “The media is in the grip of competitive sensationalising. This is not investigative journalism, shouting screaming abusing is not debate.”

“It’s betrayal of people”

Meanwhile, responding to the BJP’s defence of Mr. Gadkari, a defiant Mr. Jethmalani said that the party was losing the moral high ground in the fight against corruption. “It is a betrayal of the people … In the course of my fight against corruption, which may even turn out to be a lone fight, I will find it necessary to call for resignation of many persons holding important political and public offices,” Mr. Jethmalani said in a written statement.

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