New Delhi: Troubled Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday reacted to the Income Tax Department surveys on Purti group investors and accused the Centre of ordering I-T surveys to damage his presidential prospects. Calling it a controversy against him, Gadkari said he would never hesitate to quit the post if he is proved to be guilty. The BJP leader also added that this is a political controversy hatched to tarnish his image. Gadkari's statement read, "Coming as it does on the eve of his re-election as BJP President for a second term, the IT department's action smacks of the ruling UPA's nefarious designs to create confusion in the BJP ranks."
Meanwhile, the Purti group issued a separate statement claiming no raid was carried out against it and clarified that the survey was being done on companies that invested in Purti.
Gadkari and senior BJP leader LK Advani are expected to appear together on Tuesday at a function in Mumbai which is another indication that Gadkari's re-election would be a mere formality. RSS leaders Bhaiyaji Joshi and Suresh Soni are also expected to be present at the function.
The Mumbai I-T wing on Tuesday surveyed seven companies found to have been routing money into Gadkari's Purti Group after allegations against the companies surfaced in the Nagpur wing's probe. The Mumbai Income-Tax wing scanned the companies which have their addresses listed in Mumbai. After the Mumbai wing finishes the verification, the Nagpur wing will take the probe forward.
This comes just a day ahead of Gadkari's re-election as the BJP President. The party has been facing criticism from within the party over corruption allegations against Gadkari and charges against his Purti group. BJP leaders including Ram Jethmalani, Mahesh Jethmalani and Shatrughan Sinha have raised objections against Gadkari's re-election as the party chief. However, the BJP top brass has been united in defending Gadkari as he is backed by the RSS, which is an important support for the national party. It remains to be seen whether these raids on Gadkari's Purti Group have any effect on his re-election as the BJP President on Wednesday.