Congress wants Gadkari out; Rajya Sabha adjourned again

Rajat Kain

rajya_sabha2Protest in the Rajya Sabha continued over the issue of Opposition demanding Union Minister Nitin Gadkari’s resignation. The Opposition and in particular the Congress party has been raising the demand for Roads and Highways Minister’s sacking after the CAG report named him for alleged corruption. After repeated adjournments, the upper house was adjourned again for a day.

The Congress party have been demanding probity from Narendra Modi-led government saying any probe may not be fair if Gadkari continues to occupy the office. But amid the protest, Gadkari made his statement before the house claiming that the CAG report was “deliberately being misinterpreted for political reasons”.

“The CAG has nowhere named me as a wrong-doer nor there is any adverse comment against me. There is neither any indictment nor any charge of corruption or misappropriation against me of the PSKL,” Gadkari said while reading from the written text.

But the Congress members were unrelenting in their opposition with sloganeering from both the sides extending the din.

However, Niting Gadkari too kept reading his statement further claiming that he was the chairman of Purti Sakhar Karkhana Ltd (PSKL) from 2000 to 2011 and during that period he was neither an MP nor held any public office in government when the 13-year loan was extended to the firm in 2008-09.

“The Audit report alleges lapses/irregularities in procedures followed by IREDA, which were explained in detail by IREDA and comments of the CAG are not acceptable to IREDA,” he said.

Earlier, the Congress deputy leader Anand Sharma moved a notice seeking suspension of business to take up the CAG report. The issue has also given principal opposition party to launch a frontal attack on the BJP-led NDA government.

“Prime Minister has repeatedly said he has zero tolerance for corruption. We now want to see his zero tolerance,” said Anand Sharma taking a direct aim at the Prime Minister.

The Upper house has not been able to transact any business since last week, the 8th May, as Congress party members kept pitching protest demanding the removal of Nitin Gadkari. The CAG report has alleged that irregularities involving loan extended to his family-linked Purti group, for which it was not eligible. Further, the report last week had stated that Purti Sakhar Karkhana Limited (PSKL), a sub-group of the Purti Group in which Gadkari was once a board member did not meet conditions for availing interest subsidy from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will now scrutinise the CAG report.