Facing heat from the opposition parties over irregularities and corruption charges, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday hinted at conspiracy behind a recent CAG report naming him even though the draft audit report did not mention his name.
“The Draft Report which went to the (New and Renewable Energy) Ministry (for comments), my name was not there, but it is there in the printed final report,” Gadkari told.
Earlier this month, the official auditor had flayed state-run IREDA for “violation of financial guidelines” in giving Rs 48.65-crore loan to the Nagpur-based Purti Sakhar Karkhana Ltd (PSKL), a firm Gadkari was associated with for the recipient firm was ineligible for being given such a loan.
However, Gadkari insisted that he was not questioning CAG but audit reports had not named directors of the companies accused in either the 2G telecom spectrum scam or the coal scam.
PSKL was sanctioned a term loan of Rs 48.65 crore by Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA) in March 2002 for setting up a 22 MW bagasse based co-generation power project at Nagpur. Clarifying his firm PSKL’s position, the Union Minster and former BJP chief claimed, “I am not a businessman and industrialist. I’m a social worker. We started a sugar mill in my area in 2004. It was financed by 16 cooperative banks. State Bank of Indore and Bank of Maharashtra financed the ethanol part while IREDA gave loan for putting up captive power plant.”
“We had taken a loan of Rs 46 crore from IREDA and its liability (interest cost) was Rs 84 crore. In one-time settlement we gave them Rs 72 crore,” he further claimed.
Of the total 29 companies in the CAG list, PSKL was the only firm which paid 84 per cent of the amount. 17 companies did not give any interest and 9 firms did not even pay the principal, the Minister countered.
Taking his attack on the principal opposition party, Gadkari claimed that Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, did not find a mention in the CAG report pointing out irregularities in land purchase by his companies.
Gadkari insisted that the CAG’s report was “deliberately being misinterpreted as a part of political vendetta.”