Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari on Monday said reports about his company Purti Limited were baseless and said that there was a “conspiracy to defame him” in the media.
“I have evidence that a media group has routed black money through countries like Mauritius and the U.K. and I will come [out] with it at an appropriate time,” said Mr. Gadkari, addressing the BJP workers gathered near his house in his support.
He also threatened to file defamation suit against some media houses for running a campaign against him.
“I am open [to] any inquiry. I [have] never given a single contract without tender during my tenure as the PWD minister and it has been 12 years now, not a single accusation has been levelled against me. The Congress party’s son-in-law has grabbed land worth thousands of crores. Purti and I have not taken one paisa of government land,” said Mr. Gadkari, whose company Purti Sugar and Power Ltd. has been accused of getting investment from “shell companies.”
Lashing out at Congress leader Manikrao Thackeray, Mr. Gadkari said: “Manikrao should come in front of me and speak; we gave sugarcane worth Rs. 23 lakh to his factory. Manikrao should come out and accept that he took away Rs. 23 lakh due to farmers.”
“Whatever I have done was to prevent farmer suicides in this region. Purti is for social service” he said.
PTI reports from Nagpur:
Mr. Gadkari has cancelled his planned trip to poll-bound Himachal Pradesh in order to work out legal strategies to counter graft charges against him. Sources close to Mr. Gadkari said on Monday that the cancellation was necessitated as he would remain closeted with his legal advisers to discuss the possible legal notice to a section of media for carrying out a “vilification” campaign against him based on “untrue and unsubstantiated” allegations.
A combative Mr. Gadkari, earlier on Monday, threatened to file civil and criminal cases against media houses “defaming” him as part of a “conspiracy” allegedly hatched by the Congress.
“Certain media groups are acting as dalals [agents] of [the] Congress party. Two English TV channels and one English national daily are behind the vicious campaign against me and are playing into the hands of [the] Congress,” Mr. Gadkari said, addressing his supporters here on his return home from Delhi after securing endorsement from his party.
Mr. Gadkari, who was accorded a warm reception by BJP workers and leaders, claimed innocence and vowed to “teach a lesson” to those engaged in the “slander campaign”.
The BJP president is under attack over dubious sources of funding of his company, Purti Power and Sugar Ltd., with media reports alleging that major investments and large loans were extended to it by construction firm Ideal Road Builders (IRB) group, which had won contracts between 1995 and 1999 when he was the Maharashtra PWD Minister.