New Delhi: A day after Rajnath Singh took his place as the Bharatiya Janata Party President, Nitin Gadkari is out but not down. In an open threat, he has in fact warned Income Tax officials of consequences when the BJP comes to power. "I know the names of the officials who are trying to target me. They are trying day and night to frame me. But they should know that the Congress is going to go down and when we are in power, Sonia and Chidambaram will not be able to save them," Gadkari said.
This comes a day after Gadkari had to opt out of the race for the BJP President following no consensus on his name within the party after allegations against his Purti group. Fresh Income Tax surveys on Tuesday on companies funding Gadkari's Purti group made things worse for Gadkari, with Advani going totally against Gadkari being re-elected.
The Income Tax authorities created unease for Gadkari and his camp when they conducted on-field inquiries on some "shell" companies which had invested in Purti Power and Sugar Limited. Gadkari came out with a prompt statement condemning these inquiries by the I-T authorities as "calculated, mischievous and politically motivated".
Following the meeting, Gadkari opted out of the race saying, "I do not wish that this should in any way adversely affect the interest of the BJP. I have, therefore, decided not to seek a second term as the president of the BJP."
However, Gadkari continued to maintain that the allegations against him were politically motivated and false. "False allegations were made against me with issues that I had nothing to do with. Till I come clean, I won't contest for the party President's post," Gadkari said on Wednesday after congratulating Rajnath Singh for becoming the BJP President.
Gadkari's Purti group has been under scrutiny with allegations of fake addresses and financial irregularities. The Mumbai Income Tax department in its preliminary probe had found that most of the companies with registered addresses were fake addresses. In the course of the field surveys, the officers could not locate books of accounts. The companies were incorporated with minimum capital and there were none or insignificant transactions carried out.
Unaccounted money appears to have come through Nagpur and Kolkata. These allegations against Gadkari led to an unease within the BJP top brass as the party's credibility would be hit if he was allowed to continue as the party President. Gadkari, who was being backed by the RSS, on Tuesday saw himself being opposed by one of the senior most leaders in the party, LK Advani.
In Mumbai, at the meeting between Gadkari, Advani and Bhaiyaji Joshi, Advani stated that he wasn't in favour of Gadkari. Sources say that while Nitin Gadkari proposed Rajnath Singh's name as an alternative at the meeting. Rajnath Singh had been accused by party members of factionalism during his tenure in 2009 as the BJP President, and was therefore, not one of the frontrunners in the race for becoming the BJP President. However, reports say Advani remained adamant on any candidate other than Gadkari for the post of the party chief.
While Gadkari maintains that he has done no wrong, his party on Wednesday expressed confidence in him. The new BJP President, Rajnath Singh, also said that he was sure that Gadkari would come out clean.