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Gadkari threatens media for 'exposing' him

BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, who had so far remained mum over allegations of dubious funding in Purti Power and Sugar Ltd, broke his silence on Monday.

india Updated: Oct 29, 2012 19:06 IST
Pradip Kumar Maitra

BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, who had so far remained mum over allegations of dubious funding in Purti Power and Sugar Ltd, broke his silence on Monday.

Hitting back at his detractors, a belligerent Gadkari said he would give them a fitting reply at an appropriate time.

Gadkari, who arrived in Nagpur on Monday morning after election campaign in Himachal Pradesh which votes next month, was given a rousing welcome at the Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport by his supporters.

The BJP president, who did not speak to the media ever since the controversy emerged, addressed a group of his supporters at his Mahal residence. Defending corruption charges levelled against him Gadkari said he never indulged in money laundering.

In his half-an-hour address, Gadkari termed the 'investigative reports in the media over the last few days' as 'totally fabricated and false'.

He also accused media organisations of conspiring with the Congress, which he said, was using media to divert attention from mega scams like 2G spectrum, CWG and Coalgate that were damaging its image.

"I have never indulged in money laundering or run any illegal business. All my business ventures are aimed at the welfare of farmers and rural people. I provide 10,000 jobs to people in the underdeveloped region as I am moved by the plight of farmers committing suicide in Vidarbha," he said.

"To maintain dignity of the post I prefer not to react with allegations hurled at me. But my silence should not be perceived as my guilt. How can the media `hang me' before I am proven guilty," he thundered as the a captive audience mostly of Purti Power and Sugar Ltd employees and some BJP workers applauded his calibrated defence.

A perturbed Gadkari, whose renomination for the post in December under cloud, virtually threatened on the line of union minister, Salman Khurshid to sue those who tried to "defame" him and said that he was aware of how some media houses "routed money through Mauritius and London."

"I will not give up. I will take these media houses to the court. I will engage VR Manohar (veteran city-based legal eagle) and sue all those tarnishing my image. I will expose them all at an opportune time," the BJP president said.

He accused the Congress of having indulged in scams running into lakhs of crores.

"I have done nothing wrong. You people know me since childhood. I am thankful to all of you for your support and love," he said.

Gadkari said that he would seek exoneration in "the people's court", hinting that he may contest the general elections from Nagpur in 2014.

The BJP chief was dragged in a controversy for dubious funding in Purti Power and Sugar Ltd here where his driver, Manohar Panse, his accountant, a Mumbai-based astrologer and an aide, figured in media reports as being among the directors of firms that invested in the company and some of investors' addresses were found fake.

An investigation by income tax officials and the corporate affairs ministry is verifying charges that Gadkari's expansive empire is funded by ghost investors.