Gadkari firms under IT, ministry scanner

Gadkari firms under IT, ministry scanner

Probe launched against 18 companies

Gadkari firms under IT, ministry scanner

Pressure seems to be mounting on BJP president Nitin Gadkari since the media expose of his suspicious business dealings. His 18 companies are now under the scanner of the Income Tax and the Corporate Affairs Ministry to ascertain whether the firms’ structures and transactions violate laws.

The I-T department has begun investigation into the companies controlled by businessman-cum-politician Gadkari that are based in Maharashtra and will submit their report to the Central Board of Direct Taxes. The I-T probe will focus on the business transaction of companies, especially to verify if the ‘loan’ of Rs 164 crore Purti Power and Sugar Limited (PPSL) received from an IRB associate firm, Global Vision, in March 2010 was allegedly not a round tripping of fund. However, the company, which is into the business of planting and selling agricultural products, including sugar, claims that it has repaid Rs 64 crore, a part of the loan it took from Global Vision. Otherwise too, it has mortgaged land, building, machinery and other assets to receive the loan.

Questions have been raised on the huge loan that PPSL got since Gadkari was PWD minister in Maharashtra when the IRB group had won road construction contracts between 1995 and 1999. But, the BJP chief has said that he was open to any inquiry as he had nothing to hide. The agencies are also trying to ascertain if companies that pumped money were merely fronts. The PPSL was born on April 10, 2000, as Purti Sakhar Kharkhana Ltd, with Nitin Gadkari as one of the promoters. However, he claimed that he quit the company 14 months ago.

Union Companies Affairs Minister Veerappa Moily has asked the Registrar of Companies to look into the companies linked to the BJP president to verify allegations that some investor firms like Nivita Traders, Rigma Fintrade, Earnwell Traders, among others are said to have offices at a slum in Mumbai’s Andheri West.

Interestingly, four associates of Gadkari find mention among the board of directors of the 18 companies controlled by the BJP chief. Kawdu Pandurang Zade, who stays at Gadkari’s native place in Nagpur, is a ‘diwan’, Manohar MAdhavrao Panse is his driver, while Sagarshripad Kotiwaliwale is a friend of BJP chief’s son Nikhil and an RSS sympathiser and Nishant Vijay Agnihotri is believed to be a student. 

Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday, requesting that the media expose on Gadkari be probed by the Company Affairs Ministry. Attached with the letter was additional information on the BJP chief’s business interests.