An RTI activist has alleged that Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari did not want her to pursue the irrigation scam in Maharashtra, a charged dismissed as baseless on Thursday by the saffron party which accused the Congress of being behind a disinformation campaign.
RTI whistleblower Anjali Damania claimed that when she met Gadkari in Mumbai the BJP chief said he would not take a stand on irrigation scam since he had a business relationship with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar. Gadkari has denied that she had met him.
Damania, a member of India Against Corruption(IAC), at a news conference in Mumbai in the presence of Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday initially did not name Gadkari only alleging that "a president from the opposition party" from Maharashtra attempted to cover up the irrigation scam. Later, she named the BJP President and said she has met him thrice.
Damania had alleged that when she approached Gadkari to pursue the case against NCP leaders involved in the Rs 20,000 crore irrigation scam, he asked her not to go ahead.
She has alleged that Gadkari told her he has business interests with Pawar and that they extend mutual help where required.
BJP rubbished the charge by Damania against Gadkari, alleging that the "dirty tricks" department of Congress is at work to derail the opposition's on-going national conclave.
"On the eve of BJP's national conclave a deliberate and planned effort is being made by the dirty tricks department of the Congress to defame Gadkari and to divert attention from the meet. We deny these baseless allegations," party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters in Surajkund where the party's National Council meet is underway, a day after the party's National Executive meeting.
"The people of Maharashtra know that BJP has always been in the forefront in the fight against corruption and the irrigation scam. There is only one case filed in the irrigation scam and that is a PIL filed by our party secretary Kirit Somaiya," Javadekar said.
Javadekar said BJP leader Devendra Phadnis had raised this issue three years back and demanded a white paper.
"We have raised this irrigation scam in every Assembly session in Maharashtra as well as in every public meeting," Javadekar said.