The skeletons continue to tumble out of the closet of BJP president Nitin Gadkari's Purti group of companies, with reports now revealing that his driver, accountant and two employees were directors of the firms that invested in the group.
In an extensive report, the Times of India has shown that apart from contruction major Ideal Road Builders (IRB), a group of 16 companies had invested in the group most of which had directors who were associates of the BJP president or his family and were often headquartered in fictitious addresses.
Among the directors of the firms that invested in Purti group include Gadkari's chaffeur, his accountant and two other employees in the group, one of whom is reportedly a friend of Gadkari's son.
Between 2009-11, Gadkari's chauffeur Manohar was the director of no less than six companies, the report found, And while even Sudhir Dive, managing director of Purti Power and Sugar Limited, didn't deny the fact, he offered the defence that Panse is "now a director of only one company."
This comes after the NDTV report which revealed that apart from large investments from IRB, which had made large loans to the Purti group, some of the other companies that had invested in the group were also located in fictitious addresses.
According to records with the Registrar of Companies, five of the companies that invested in the group were housed in a chawl in Mumbai, but the owner of the chawl claimed he had never heard of any of the companies. Three other companies were registered in another location in south Mumbai and again the firms were found not to be operating from the location.
While the records are mostly of years ago, the government has now said it will swing into action and will probe the curious investment patterns in the group.
"Our process is, we first make some discreet enquiry into this. Then find out if there's any violation. Let me see, now that it has come into public domain...we'll definitely enquire into it. And I'll get a report," Minister for Corporate Affairs Veerappa Moily was quoted as saying.
It doesn't come as a surprise that there exists a company that is presumably made up of fake investing companies, fake directors and fictitious address locations. Perhaps Gadkari's group of companies isn't the first one to be set up in this manner but it raises questions about how many such groups exist and what is being done to sort it out.
Equally stunning have been the comments made by senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh that he had evidence of corruption by relatives of other senior BJP leaders like LK Advani and AB Vajapayee but the party had chosen not to reveal it. An editorial in the Business Standard today argued about how in keeping the moral high ground, the nation's two biggest political parties have so far allowed leaders from both sides to indulge in deals, which even when viewed kindly, are murky.
Firstpost had pointed out how with revelations about Gadkari's companies, the BJP has again been caught on the wrong foot and in attempting to cobble together a defence for him, dropped the ball on the Congress and its complicity in Vadragate. But whether Kejriwal, the original rabble rouser, will be able to capitalise on the disarray the two parties find themselves in remains to be seen.
In both Gadkari's group of companies and with Vadra's case there may be little evidence of criminality or direct evidence proving quid-pro-quo deals, but if there are violations of law they deserve to face action. Irrespective of whom they are owned by and who they may know.
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Updated Date: Oct 23, 2012 10:35:45 IST