On Thursday, non-government organisation India Against Corruption (IAC) released details of allegations by its volunteer and whistleblower Anjali Damania against BJP president Nitin Gadkari.
Damania alleged that she was rebuffed by the BJP leader when she met him to seek support for her cause against irrigation projects. For her allegations, Gadkari slapped a legal notice on Damania seeking a public apology from her for “slandering and defaming him”.
Damania had alleged that when she approached Gadkari, who is the head of an opposition party, he expressed his inability to help her saying he had business with NCP chief Sharad Pawar and the two often exchange favours.
‘My client (Nitin Gadkari) denies the false, baseless and defamatory statements that he has any business relations with Sharad Pawar. You are making such false baseless statements only to make a sensation… the BJP unit of the state was the first to unearth the irrigation scam and has undertaken a public agitations in addition to appropriate legal remedy for the purpose,’ said the notice sent by Shamshery and Advocates on behalf of Gadkari. The notice asked Damania to tender a public apology promptly, failing which, legal action would be initiated.
Damania, who was yet to receive the notice when HT spoke to her, said she will not budge from her stand.
“I stand by my statements and no legal notice will move me. I will go to the court and fight it out. I have two other pieces of evidence that will further expose the issue, which I will bring out at the right time,” the activist said.
A statement released by IAC on Thursday said Damania decided to approach Gadkari when she heard that god-man Bhaiyyu Maharaj had approached the BJP leader and asked him to drop the issue raised by his partymen, including Devendra Phadnavis and Kirit Somaiya.
But Damania wanted to check the truth for herself. The IAC said that after meeting Gadkari, Damania even sent him a message conveying her disillusionment.
The SMS read: “Hello Mr Gadkari, My baba (father) was in RSS and as a kid I had always heard the prayer ‘Namaste Sada Vatsale’ "….I always felt I could do so much because of my principles in life were that of RSS. This morning when I met you, my faith was simply rocked. How can my opposition party president have such close links with ruling party & WHY?”.
On Thursday, Damania said: “[Gadkari] told me that he would stop Kirit Somaiya from filing the PIL. Somaiya may now deny that.” Somaiya refused to comment on the matter. “This is a diversionary tactic. The PIL has gone way forward and I have complete support from my party president.”
Eknath Khadse, leader of Opposition in Assembly, refuted Damania’s allegations, saying the BJP has been working with Damania to expose the scams.
“In fact, after she met Gadkariji, he sent us letters saying we should support her. We have constantly taken up the issue in the legislature,” he said.