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Instead of raising questions over the Rs72,000 irrigation scam in Maharashtra, the BJP president allegedly told RTI activist Anjali Damania that he and the NCP chief are friends and do business together and often do favours for each other
India Against Corruption (IAC) and Right to Information (RTI) activist Anjali Damania have questioned the silence of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari over the Rs72,000 crore irrigation scam in Maharashtra. IAC and Damania alleged that Gadkari refused to rake the issue of irrigation scam saying BJP has good relations with Sharad Pawar, chief of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and the role of opposition party is limited to asking questions in the assembly and at best, taking a press conference.
“It is shocking state of affairs when all parties are together looting the nation, there are no checks and balances, this whole system have rotted totally! It is time now to lay bare the nexus, to bring down those people who have such scant regard for the sanctity of our democracy. The only glimmer of hope in all this is that Kirit Somaiya has not been stopped from filing his PIL and some better sense seems to have prevailed,” IAC said in a press release.
Damania, a member of India Against Corruption (IAC), at a news conference in Mumbai in the presence of Arvind Kejriwal yesterday initially did not name Gadkari only alleging that “a president from the opposition party” from Maharashtra attempted to cover up the irrigation scam. Later, she named the BJP president and said she has met him thrice.
Damania had alleged that when she approached Gadkari to pursue the case against NCP leaders involved in the Rs 20,000 crore irrigation scam, he asked her not to go ahead.
She has alleged that Gadkari told her he has business interests with Pawar and that they extend mutual help where required.
BJP rubbished the charge by Damania against Gadkari, alleging that the “dirty tricks” department of the Congress is at work to derail the opposition's on-going national conclave.
IAC volunteers led by Anjali Damania, have been relentlessly fighting corruption by exposing the irrigation scam. When the strength of the perpetrators was used in full force to subvert the exposure, we were heartened that help came from an unexpected quarter, the opposition party. MLA Devendra Phadnavais and BJP leader Kirit Somaiya began demanding a probe into the irrigation scam and the disproportionate assets of Maharashtra irrigation minister Sunil Tatkare. “Then we heard a rumour that there was some settlement likely between NCP and BJP, that Bhaiyyu Maharaj met Nitin Gadkari on behalf of NCP and asked them to drop the issue. Anjali in her naiveté carried an idealistic impression of the RSS and firmly believed this was not possible. She decided to meet Nitin Gadkari to clarify the rumour
and enlist his support,” IAC said in a release.
According to the release, On 14th August, Anjali Damania visited Nitin Gadkari’s residence at Worli in Mumbai. Gadkari allegedly told Damania that the opposition’s role was limited to asking questions in the assembly and at best taking a press conference. “Kirit Somaiya was an eccentric person to attempt a public interest ligitation (PIL) and Gadkari said he would ask Kirit Somaiya to stop it. He clarified that ‘Sharad Pawar ke saath hamara uthana baithna hai, ham saath dhanda karte hein. Woh hamare char kaam karte hein aur hum unke char kaam karte hein’, (We are friends and do business together and often do favours for each other). He went on to say in the forthcoming elections, they may even partner together!” the IAC said.
Amid the row whether or not Damania met Gadkari, Kejriwal said the meeting did take place.
“This is unfortunate for the country. There is no opposition in the country. If the president of the biggest opposition party has business links with the leaders in ruling parties, then there is no difference between ruling and opposition parties," he said.
Kejriwal also posed four questions to Gadkari asking whether he had ever raised the issue of involvement of NCP, Sharad Pawar or Ajit Pawar in the irrigation scam and why he has not voiced his opposition yet. Ajit Pawar has resigned over the scam which has triggered a crisis in the ruling Congress-NCP alliance in Maharashtra.
Gadkari was also asked whether he has any business links with Pawar and demanded that he make public his business interests.
According to a TV channel, Gadkari is planning to sue Damania over the allegations, but it cannot be confirmed.
Following the meeting, Damania said she sent an SMS to the BJP president. Here are the snapshots of the SMS sent by Damania...