The government on Tuesday confirmed a “discreet inquiry” is being conducted to find out if any irregularities have been committed in companies formerly held by BJP president Nitin Gadkari, whose party stood firmly behind him.
Corporate affairs minister M Veerappa Moily said the Registrar of Companies (RoC) has been asked to send a report on the alleged source of funding of the Purti group of industries, set up by Gadkari in 2001.
“The ministry has taken notice of what has been put in public domain by the media. The (RoC) has been asked for a report on whether any rules have been violated… A discreet inquiry is on to see if any provisions of the companies act have been flouted,” Moily told HT.
The move coincided with Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh writing to the PM on Tuesday, demanding a probe by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office, saying a “prima facie case” does exist.
In his letter, Singh referred to news reports that alleged some of the companies that invested in Gadkari’s Purti Power and Sugar Ltd existed only on paper and appeared to be front companies for diversion of funds.
In support of its president, the BJP said it “endorses” his stand on facing any investigation by a competent authority.
Spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman also lashed out at the Congress for being "prejudicial" in demanding an investigation against Gadkari but refusing the same for its senior leader Virbhadra Singh and businessman Robert Vadra, who also face allegations of corruption.
In the only discordant note, the BJP's Rajya Sabha MP Ram Jethmalani asked Gadkari not to seek a second term as party chief. "In the interest of the party, in his own interest, he should get out of the fray now and give the position to somebody who inspires greater confidence. He should not aspire for a second term," he said.
However, RSS sources said the Sangh brass was firmly behind Gadkari and there was no re-think on his getting a second term.