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Former BJP president Nitin Gakdari deposed before the Income Tax authorities on Thursday night in connection with allegations of 'dubious' funding by some firms in Purti Power and Sugar Ltd, floated by Gadkari.
According to reports, Gadkari was supposed to appear before the directorate (investigation), income tax in Nagpur on February 1.
However, he requested the IT officials for an appointment on Thursday as it would not have been possible for him to appear on Friday as he was to leave for Delhi to attend BJP core-committee meeting.
The IT officials accordingly summoned him on Thursday evening. It was learnt that I-T officer Geetha Ravichandran quizzed Gadkari for around two and a half hours. However, the details of the questioning were not known immediately.
Manoj Wadekar, the personal assistant of Gadkari, informed that Gadkari made a detailed statement before the IT officials and said that he was nowhere involved in Purti as he resigned from all posts of the company a few years ago.
The IT officials refused to divulge the details. The department has been probing various firms that invested in Purti group. The department has allegedly found details of almost 30 companies that have been "in transactions" with Purti.
It was revealed that Gadkari's driver, Manohar Panse, one astrologer and a bakery employee, Rajesh Khanzode were directors in Purti's investor companies. Among them, Panse, Gadkari's driver for 15 years, is a director on five Purti's investor companies.
Earlier, the IT department had served summons to Gadkari for personal appearance on January 21. But he could not appear as he was in Lucknow for a BJP function. His CA, Ravi Chincholkar sought another fresh date and the IT department fixed it for February 1.
On January 22, the IT officials conducted on-field inquiries on 11 premises in Mumbai belonging to the shell companies related to Purti group and found no trace of these entities at their given addresses. This led to the resignation of Gadkari from the party's highest post on January 22.
Earlier, Gadkari's chartered accountant Chincholkar had submitted a 25-page document in reply to questions regarding his personal transactions and investments related to the Purti Group of companies and few others.
"He (Gadkari) only endorsed those things on Thursday before the IT officials," said a close associate of Gadkari.
Purti Power and Sugar Ltd
The company was promoted by Nitin Gadkari in 2001 at Bela, some 60 kms from Nagpur. Around Rs 400-crore turnover Company produces, alcohol, bio-fertilizers, ethanol, sugar and power.
According to documents available, the initial directors of the company were: Nitin Gadkari, Giridhari Manaklal Mantri, Manohar Narhari Mendjoge, Arun Hanumandasji Lakhani, Jaykumar Verma, Vithal Jagobaji Raut and Anandrao Motiramji Raut.
Later, Gadkari resigned from the post of Purti. Now there are 11 directors and of them, Nikhil Gadkari, is the eldest son of Nitin Gadkari.