Registrars of Companies will inquire into charges, says Moily
Having been at the receiving end, for several months, of charges of corruption and misgovernance, the Congress on Tuesday sought to turn the tables on the BJP, targeting its president Nitin Gadkari.
The Congress seized the opportunity provided by anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal, who last week alleged irregularities in the companies run by Mr. Gadkari. Party general secretary Digvijay Singh wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, seeking a probe into the affairs of the companies.
Union Minister for Corporate Affairs M. Veerappa Moily added to Mr. Gadkari’s discomfiture, saying the Registrars of Companies would “definitely inquire” into the charges.
However, the Congress leader chose not to give credit to Mr. Kejriwal, who has given the party leadership several sleepless nights, invoking instead the NDTV reports on the companies owned by Mr. Gadkari to justify his demand for a probe.
The Congress’ strident attack could not have come at a more inopportune time for Mr. Gadkari, who is battling a revolt by the former Karnataka Chief Minister, B.S. Yeddyurappa, factionalism in the election-bound Himachal Pradesh and barbs from the maverick MP, Ram Jethmalani, who demanded his resignation, arguing that the party, which had the fight against corruption as its main flank, could not afford to have a tainted leader at the top.
In his letter to Dr. Singh, Mr. Digvijay Singh wrote: “[Mr.] Gadkari has also said he is open to a free and fair investigation. [He] being the national president of the BJP, it is in the fitness of things that his case is properly investigated and he gets a fair opportunity to prove his innocence and clear his name.”
He urged the Prime Minister to ask the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to institute an inquiry by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office, saying that, “a prima facie case does exist.”
Mr. Moily said that he had asked his Ministry to make “some discreet inquiry” to find out whether there was any violation of the Companies Act.
Government prejudiced: BJP
The BJP hit back at the government, saying it was prejudiced and selective in its approach to probing corruption allegations.
Spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said that while the party endorsed Mr. Gadkari’s stand that he was open to any investigation, it wanted to know from the Congress why it was running away from probing the allegations against Ministers, the former Union Minister, Virbhadra Singh, and Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.