Maharashtra irrigation scam: BJP defends Gadkari, pulls up Congress

Faridabad/New Delhi, Sep 27: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday came out in full defence of its party chief Nitin Gadkari in connection with the alleged irrigation scam in Maharashtra, and lashed out at the Congress-led UPA Government for trying to divert the attention of public from the recent scams by making false allegations.

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said that corruption stands for the Congress Party, and added that there is no reason for anyone to doubt it.

“Absurd, baseless, I have not seen any story. And I wouldn’t buy any story. If the agenda is to only malign opposition parties, they may try but everything is untruth,” she told mediapersons in Haryana’s Faridabad town.

Another BJP leader Kirit Somaiya also echoed similar sentiments on the issue, and said that his political outfit has filed a PIL on the irrigation scam and the accused will be punished.

“Our petition on irrigation scam and PWD scam has moved forward in the court. The court has passed an order in front of the government. The whole party and Nitin Gadkari are standing behind me and the people involved will be punished. I am not under any pressure and the whole party is together,” said Somaiya.

“The petition was filed one and a half months back and the hearing has started. They are trying to divert the issue and we will not let that happen,” he added.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Jagdambika Pal said in that Anjali Damania has not shown any proof and if she is right, she must prove it.

“Anjali Damania does not have a proof. But I feel that members of India Against Corruption, whether it is Arvind Kejriwal or Anjali Damania, the way they change their stands and the way they try and charge allegations on the parliamentary systems has been revealed in front of public,” he said.

In a new twist to the political crisis in Maharashtra that has risen from an irrigation scam, one of the whistleblowers, Anjali Damania, has named Nitin Gadkari for trying to suppress it.

Anjali Damania is instrumental in blowing the lid off the Rs.72, 000 crore scam. Damania said that when she met Gadkari in August at his home in Worli, Mumbai, he told her to not push too hard to expose the scam.

Damania said that the BJP’s attitude was very discouraging, as was that of Gadkari, who allegedly was having business ties with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar.

Without naming Gadkari, Damania said ‘the opposition party chief’ told her “we help Pawar and he helps us, can’t do anything in this scam.”

She claimed to have met Gadkari thrice, once in Delhi in June 2011 and twice in Mumbai, in August 2011 and August 14 this year.

“Since the NCP and the Congress are together, we went to the opposition party, but they strictly told me that they could not do anything about it. Their party president himself told me that he could not do anything regarding this; he shares businesses with Sharad Pawar. They help each other in their matters. So, he could not do anything about it. We were shocked after getting such kind of a reply,” she said.

The BJP is in the opposition in Maharashtra. NCP leader Ajit Pawar, who has submitted his resignation from the post of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister, has been accused by his political opponents of being involved in the irrigation scam when he was the state’s water resources minister. (ANI)