|Enquiries have been conducted at 11 premises, but nothing has been found.|
NAVTAN KUMAR NEW DELHI | 11th May 2013
The accusations of massive irregularities in the Purti Group of companies, which cost former BJP president Nitin Gadkari his job, have begun to crumble under scrutiny by investigation authorities, sources in the Income-TaxDepartment say. The only accusation that has survived, tenuously, is an evasion of Rs 7 crore in taxes, but the Purti Group strenuously denies this claim.
When contacted, Purti Group PRO Nitin Kulkarni denied receiving any notices or communication from the Income-Tax Department regarding tax evasions: “So far we have not got anything from the department in the case. In case any tax assessment notice is received, we will give an appropriate response. A tax assessment notice is a routine procedure. It is certainly not any indication of any wrongdoing.”
When asked, Income-Tax Department spokesperson Kavita Pandey said that investigations were going on. Sources, however, said that the I-T Department is yet to do the final scrutiny of the documents of the companies belonging to Purti Group, which was headed by Gadkari till recently. In February, the director of I-T investigations, Geetha Ramchandran had questioned Gadkari for four hours at the department’s office in Nagpur. Gadkari’s representatives had earlier submitted a 25-page document in reply to questions regarding his personal transactions and investment related to the company.
The department had conducted on-field enquiries at 11 premises in Mumbai belonging to alleged shell companies related to the Purti Group, but could not find any such company at the given addresses. Interestingly, this was done on 22 January, just a day before Gadkari was supposed to be re-elected to the BJP president’s post. However, under pressure he resigned later that evening, paving the way for Rajnath Singh as BJP president.
According to one of Gadkari’s aides, the former BJP president did nothing wrong. “Had it been so the department would have gathered some major evidence till now. This clearly indicates that the controversy regarding the Purti Group was blown out of proportion deliberately to halt Gadkariji’s chances of becoming BJP president for the second consecutive term,” he alleged.