Abhishek Manu Singhvi:Congress Demands Shri Nitin Gadkari’s Resignation Over CAG Report

Congress party has demanded that senior BJP leader Shri Nitin Gadkari resign as central minister following severe strictures over financial wrongdoing passed by the Comptroller & Auditor General against Purti, a company founded by him and with which his family has close links. Shri Nitin Gadkari, who had in an earlier case named his driver as a Director in his Purti Group of companies, to escape responsibility has been indicted by the CAG in its report tabled in Parliament on Thursday. Purti Shakkar Karkhana, of which Shri Gadkari was a Director, indeed the prime promoter, took a loan of Rs 84.12 Cr from IREDA for a project to be run on atleast 75% renewable energy sources, to be commissioned in February 2004.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi distributed copies of the relevant pages from the latest CAG report that detail how Purti sought a loan of Rs. 84.12 crore (CONFIRM FIGURE) from IREDA for installing renewable energy in 2004 but misused the funds to set up a 100% coal-funded power project.The project however, not only got inexplicably delayed and got commissioned in March 2007, but also converted to being fully (100%) coal based in gross violation of the prescribed allowed stipulation of a maximum 25% deviation. In doing so the company violated the very basis of getting a loan from IREDA. Loans from IREDA- the primary renewable energy promoting government agency in the country for a coal based project is but an oxymoron.

 Shri Gadkari’s company continued drawing interest subsidy, irrespective of the fact that the loan given to it became a Non Performing Asset (NPA) in March 2007 itself as per banking fiscal norms. The Purti Group then hoodwinked the IREDA by asking for a One Time Settlement (OTS) and paid back only Rs 71.35 Cr, thereby “resulting in a sacrifice of Rs 12.77 Cr” to the exchequer.

 “Forget about the interest, Purti has not even paid back the full amount,” Abhishek Manu Singhvi said quoting from the CAG report. “There should be a judicial inquiry into the allegations agsint Purti and Gadkari’s role in it.” According to the CAG report, the Purti group asked for a one-time settlement and paid back only Rs. 71.35 crore, causing a loss of Rs. 12.77 crore. “In fact, the losses are much more, given the loss of interest.”

Abhishek  Singhvi said the BJP used to attack the previous Congress-led UPA government at the Centre based on CAG reports that hadn’t even been released. “Now that the CAG has published this report, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP should take cognizance of it.”As a Director and Promoter, Shri Gadkari had given personal guarantee for the loan and it wouldn’t be out of place to say that he benefitted personally out of causing this loss of Rs 12.77 Cr to the sarkari khazana.

The reasons cited by the Purti group for the default and diversion of funds are “untenable” and point towards deliberate wrong doing.

 The Congress party also demanded that the Government orders an immediate inquiry into the matter on the basis of the CAG report by the Economic Offences Wing besides asking Shri Gadkari to step down as a Minister till such time that the inquiry is completed.  Shri Narendra Modi’s government, which came to power riding on the slogan of “Bahut  Hui Mehangai ki Maar- Abki Baar Modi Sarkar” is mindlessly pursuing policies that are increasing inflation in real terms. Although, jargons of WPI and CPI present on the contrary, prices of all edibles- pulses, food grain, flour and vegetables are hitting the roof.

 An increase in fuel prices only serve to have a cascading inflationary effect by increasing freights and transportation. In addition to this, an already existing agrarian distress will get multiplied further, with running of tractors, trollies and irrigation pump sets becoming costlier. Threshing and transporting grain to mandis will become costlier putting further burden on the farmer.

 Not only is the government not passing on the benefits of depressed international crude prices to the consumer, in a most diabolic manner, it has increased excise on petroleum products 4 times since November last making additional revenues worth about Rs 20,000 Cr. OMCs and Government have made a windfall amounting to Rs 80,000 Cr.The Congress Party demands immediate roll back of the hike in fuel prices but also demands passing of full benefits to the hapless consumer reeling under the burden of having elected a suit boot ki sarkar.

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