Kejriwal targets Gadkari now, BJP says ‘hitman’ is off mark
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Activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal's India Against Corruption Wednesday alleged that BJP president Nitin Gadkari sought and secured for a trust run by him 37 hectares of land which was acquired by the Maharashtra government to build a dam in Vidarbha but eventually not used. Gadkari was an MLA and Maharashtra BJP chief when the transaction took place.
IAC claimed the land was leased to Gadkari's trust Purti Sinchan Kalyankari Sanstha by the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation in two parts in 2005 and 2007 in violation of rules, and alleged a nexus between Gadkari and the NCP, saying the land was allotted "by Ajit Pawar, the then irrigation minister".
Kejriwal produced what he said was documentary evidence to prove the transfer of land to Gadkari's Wardha-based trust. But he did not similarly substantiate his other allegation that a power and sugar plant operated by Gadkari's Purti group near the Lower Vena Vadgaon Dam — to build which the 37 hectares were acquired — was using all the water and starving farmers.
Gadkari and the BJP rejected the IAC allegations. Gadkari dismissed the charges as baseless and termed them as part of a conspiracy to malign the BJP as the image of the Congress was being damaged by alleged corruption scandals. BJP leader Sushma Swaraj also indicated that Gadkari, as expected, will get a second term as party chief when his term ends in December.
IAC said it was not demanding a probe as it does not expect the state or central governments to order one. "They are all hand in glove. We only want the people to understand all this. We are only asking people to rise and get up as this is the time," Kejriwal said.
IAC claimed that 31.598 hectares of land was given to Gadkari's trust in 2005 and 5.36 hectares in 2007, overruling the objections of the irrigation secretary and despite villagers demanding that they wanted to buy back the unused land. According to rules, "excess land should either be returned to farmers or leased out to them for farming", IAC said.
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