Centre starts ‘discreet inquiry’ into charges against Gadkari
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The prospects of Nitin Gadkari getting a second term as BJP president came under a cloud on Tuesday as Corporate Affairs Minister Veerappa Moily said he had sought a "discreet inquiry" into whether there had been any violations of the Companies Act in the funding of Nagpur-based Purti Power and Sugar Ltd (PPSL), in which Gadkari has a stake.
With allegations coming forth over irregularities in PPSL funding, Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding an inquiry by the Serious Fraud Investigation Organisation (SFIO).
The charges come less than a week after Gadkari was thought to have emerged unscathed from charges levelled against him by political activist Arvind Kejriwal.
BJP Rajya Sabha MP Ram Jethmalani fired the first salvo at the BJP president, suggesting that Gadkari step down. Though senior RSS leaders Bhaiyyaji Joshi and Suresh Soni had held detailed deliberations with the party top brass last week after Kejriwal's allegations and were learnt to have forged a consensus on a second term for Gadkari, sources said there may now be a rethink.
The issue may come up during the Akhil Bharatiya Karya Kari Mandal (All India National Executive Council) meeting of senior RSS functionaries slated for November 2-4 in Chennai. The RSS national executive comprising the Sangh Parivar's top 20-plus leaders is likely to meet ahead of the meeting on October 31 and sources in the BJP as well as the Sangh said the charges against Gadkari may be discussed at this meeting.
Publicly, the BJP maintained a brave front, reminding that Gadkari had already offered to face any probe and seeking to turn the tables against the Congress. It asked whether the ruling party would treat Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra and former steel minister Virbhadra Singh in the same fashion.
"The BJP is not afraid of probity. Our president has offered to face any probe. The question is whether the Congress will apply the same yardstick of probity against Vadra and Singh," BJP general secretary Dharmendra Pradhan said.
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