Nitin Gadkari

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Nitin Gadkari
Nitin Gadkari.jpg
Minister of Transport and Minister of Rural Development
Incumbent
Assumed office
26 May 2014
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
President of Bharatiya Janata Party
In office
1 January 2010 – 22 January 2013
Preceded by Rajnath Singh
Succeeded by Rajnath Singh
Minister for PWD, Maharashtra
In office
27 May 1995 – 1999
Personal details
Born (1956-05-27) 27 May 1956 (age 58)
Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
Nationality Indian
Political party Bharatiya Janata Party
Spouse(s) Kanchan Gadkari
Children Nikhil, Sarang and Ketki
Alma mater Nagpur University
Occupation Lawyer, Industrialist
Religion Hinduism
Website [2]

Nitin Jairam Gadkari About this sound pronunciation ; (born 27 May 1956) is an Indian politician and the current Transport minister under the BJP central cabinet in the 16th Loksabha.[1] Mr Gadkari was appointed to head BJP in December 2009 after the party suffered a defeat in the general elections earlier that year.[2] He is also known for the works during his tenure as a Public Works Department Minister in the state of Maharashta when he constructed a series of roads, highways and flyovers across the state including the Yashwantrao Chavan Mumbai–Pune Expressway.[3]

Background, family and education[edit]

Nitin was born in Nagpur, India, to a middle class Hindu Brahmin family hailing from Nagpur district. During his teens, he worked for the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and the student union ABVP.

Nitin Gadkari is married to Kanchan Gadkari and they have three children; Nikhil, Sarang and Ketki. He currently lives in Nagpur close to the head office of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.[4] His eldest son Nikhil, got married to Rutuja Pathak on 2 December 2010. On 24 June 2012, Sarang Gadkari married Madhura Rodi.[5]

Political career[edit]

Nitin Gadkari[6] served as the Minister of Public Works Department(PWD) of the Government of Maharashtra from 1995 to 1999 and restructured it from top to bottom.[7] He has served as the president of the Maharashtra BJP.[8] Nitin Gadkari was seeking second term as Bhartiya Janta Party President but resigned from the post on 22 January 2013, due to irregularities in the firm Purti Group promoted by him.Many senior party leaders, such as Yashwant Sinha, were against the re-election of Nitin Gadkari.[9]

Support for privatisation[edit]

He showed strong support for privatisation when he campaigned for investment in the infrastructure areas from private firms. He addressed several meetings between private investors, contractors, builders and various trade organisations and diverted large amounts of budgeted projects towards privatisation. He managed to convince the state to allocate Rs. 7 billion for rural connectivity. In the next 4 years, 98% of the total population of Maharashtra achieved an all-weather road connectivity. The project aimed to connect 13,736 remote villages which remained unconnected since independence by road.[citation needed]. It also helped to solve the malnutrition problems prevailing in remote Melghat-Dharni area of Amravati district which previously had no access to medical aid, ration or educational facilities.

Chairman of NRRDC[edit]

The Union Government appointed him the Chairman of National Rural Road Development Committee. After a series of meetings and studies, Gadkari submitted his report to the central government and gave the presentation to the Hon. Prime Minister of India. His new report was accepted and a new rural road connecting scheme now popularly known as Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana was launched. The ambitious scheme is of Rs. 600 billion.[10][11]

Positions served[edit]

2014 Lok Sabha election[edit]

Gadkari contested 2014 Loksabha election successfully from Nagpur constituency and won.He defeated Congress leader Vilas Muttemwar by margin of 285,000.

Industrial career[edit]

Nitin Gadkari does not consider himself a career politician.[16] He is known to control these establishments in the following way;

  • Poly sack Industrial Society Ltd – Founder and chairman.[12]
  • Nikhil Furniture and Appliances Pvt. Ltd – Promoter and Director.[12]
  • Antyodaya Trust – Founder and Member[12]
  • Empress Employees Co-operative Paper Mills Ltd – Founder and chairman.[12]

Gadkari is also an agriculturist. He has not only promoted but also has major interests in the fields of Water Management, Solar Energy Projects and the use of modern tools in agriculture. Recently, he started exporting fruits to various countries under the banner Ketaki overseas Trading Company.[12]

In Total 17 Sugar Plants were started in Vidarbha regions, and a Sugar plant is considered to be the best industry in terms of local economic development (that's the reason why the district with highest per capita income is Solapur with the 17 sugar industries). However Vidarbha now has just three plants functioning, and all of those three plants are of Purti group, a Sugar Factory is not a profitable industry, but its a major step to boost the local economy where the cash directly rises in the hand of the farmer. 5 different Industries is not true. Sugar cane produces Bagas and Molasses – where Bagas is used for power production and molasses is used for Ethanol (Alcohol) production, while the other waste products produce bio fertilizers. Purti group has brought enormous development in the catchment area. The whole thing started with a genius idea of Social entrepreneurship, Co-operative general stores (Purti Super Bazaar) is just an example. Purti group also carried out many social welfare projects such as making 100+ villages self-sufficient by solar energy in Melghat region of Vidarbha (which is the most under developed region), 2000+ Heart surgeries. Solar Rickshaws and much more.

Controversies[edit]

In 2012, following an RTI disclosure, a number of irregularities were discovered re: investments in the Purti group, which Gadkari had founded.[17] It was widely reported that this may have been why he failed to be re-elected as BJP president in January 2013.[18] In May 2013, the Inome Tax department assessed the firm as having evaded Rs. 70 million via improper means.[19] On May 13, 2014 the IT department of Maharashtra cleared Nitin Gadkari's name and gave him a clean chit saying there is no enquiry/investigation presently pending.[20] Currently, he is Member of the 16th Lok Sabha from Nagpur constituency.

Arvind Kejriwal's allegations against Nitin Gadkari[edit]

Activist turned politician Arvind Kejriwal, leader of AAP (Aam Aadmi Party), on Wednesday, 17 October 2012, in New Delhi alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president had colluded with NCP's Ajit Pawar to exploit farmers in Maharashtra's Vidarbha region. He made these allegations in a press conference. Kejriwal also informed that the information against the BJP president had been obtained through an RTI by his colleague Anjali Damania. Asking whether the BJP was an opposition party or acting in concert with the government, Kejriwal said Gadkari was involved in land and irrigation scams in Maharashtra's Land. "Gadkari took away land of the farmers and their water. He has sympathy for the contractors but not the farmers," Kejriwal said.

However until 23 May 2014 Arvind Kejriwal has not been able to prove whether Nitin Gadkari was responsible for these scams. Kejriwal had spent 2 nights in Tihar Jail for not filing a security bond of $200(approx.) in the defamation case filed by the BJP President Nitin Gadkari on 21 and 22 May 2014. Documents furnished by Aam Aadmi Party can be found here

Arvind Kejriwal also accused that this allegation was political in nature and generally political parties make these allegations but Nitin Gadkari is on opinion that this matter was of personal defamation. Arvind Kejriwal further alleged that he was enforced to file security bond because he had disclosed facts against BJP President as BJP's government was commenced from 16 May 2014 in India. However Arvind Kejriwal is able to generate some case laws of similar nature, in which court is at opinion to trust him and does not require filing up of security bond.However court can demand such security and not filing up of Bond papers seems to be a Political step for gaining popularity.

Allegations of bribe[edit]

National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) alleged that bribe were paid to the top Maharashtra politicians, including Nitin Gadkari. Documentary proof included supporting documents, diaries and papers seized from the residences of the director of Mahalaxmi Infraprojects (MIL), Dhirendra Anant Bhat, one of the parties to the irrigation scam.[21]

Yogita Thakre's death[edit]

7 year old Yogita Thakre was found dead on 19 May 2009 inside a car owned by Gadkari outside his residence in Nagpur Maharashtra. Gadkari was away in Mumbai on that day and arrived at night. The politician’s wife was away too but their two sons were at home. The driveway where Yogita was last seen playing and her body was found was manned by security guards and Gadkari's driver Manohar Panse. Yogita's mother, Vimal Thakre, who works as a domestic help in the area, had asked the guards at the house around 5.30 p.m. whether they had seen her daughter. She had been with them two hours earlier but the guards said they didn't know where she had gone. Then around 7 p.m., when Vimal went back to the house, she was told by Manohar Panse, Mr Gadkari's driver, that Yogita was "sleeping" inside a car when in fact, she was dead.[22]

The preliminary investigation of the case was severely botched up. The investigating Police Inspector Kotale was transferred later. Social worker Umesh Choube pointed out that the police report made no mention of the injury marks. The Panchanama had mentioned scratch marks about 1.5 inches long were seen behind her right ear. Scratch marks were also found on her wrists. Her underwear had bloodstains and blood was inside her private parts too. Scratch marks were also found on her right knee. The witnesses interviewed on the spot felt the victim could have been murdered" the Panchanama had said.[23]

It also apparently ignored the evidence of Yogita's mother, who described how she had found her dead body in Mr Gadkari's white Honda (MH 31 DB-2727). An RTI (Right To Information) request filed by the parents shows the same car mentioned in the Panchanama (inquest report). But the Forensics report, however, mentions that the car was a brown Fiat (MH 31 CS 2727) — this too was parked on the premises that day. The Honda belonged to Gadkari; the brown Fiat was said to belong to his Purti Group's managing director Sudhir Dive. The police seized the Fiat, not the Honda.[22]

Case Progress: The case was assigned to the CBI in May 2010, a year after Yogita died by the Bombay High Court which severely criticised the Nagpur Police for its flip-flops in the case. After investigations, the CBI concluded that Yogita's death was an accident. The reasons cited were- The initial autopsy report attributed the death to "smothering", and added that it could be homicidal or accidental. The Forensics Examination found no evidence of rape in Yogita's body. A doctor's report had claimed that the marks on the girl's body could have been claimed by a hard surface like the boot of the car as claimed by CBI in closure report.[23] The court, rejected the CBI closure report in 2011 ordering further investigation. In Feb 2013 CBI filed a second report stating that not enough evidence of a murder could be found. Nagpur court rejected this report too. With both reports rejected, the court will now monitor investigation in the case. AITUC leader and CBI Nagpur demanded Maharashtra Government to order a probe by CBI. The request was turned down. It was later revealed that the driver Manohar Panse was appointed director of seven companies owned by Gadkari's group on 24 July 2009, 2 months after the incident.[24]

Benami investments in Purti Group[edit]

Nitin Gadkari floated the Purti Power and Sugar Ltd (now Purti Group) in 1995,[25] when he started as PWD minister in Maharashtra. In 2012, after the companies came into the media glare based on irregularities unearthed by RTI activist Anjali Damania, the Income Tax department investigated a number of firms that had invested in Purti, and found more than a dozen of these to be bogus addresses.[26] Another three investing firms were found co-located with the Somani Group, but no one knew of these firms.[27]

Eventually, in May 2013, the Income Tax department assessed that Gadkari's firms had evaded Rs. 70 million via such benami investments and other practices. But after thorough investigation on May 13, 2014 the IT department of Maharashtra cleared Nitin Gadkari's name and gave him a clean chit saying there is no enquiry/investigation presently pending.[28] [19]

Loan from contractor firm IRB[edit]

In 2010, when the Purti group had incurred losses of Rs. 640 million,[29] the firm IRB, which had obtained hefty road contracts under Gadkari's term as PWD minister, loaned the group Rs. 1.64 billion, which was higher than Purthi's turnover of Rs. 1.45 billion. On April 30. 2014, then Congress union Minister aplogised to Nitin Gadkari when he was dragged in to a defamation suit by the later. This apologu was based on the judicial commission mentioned that Nitin Gadkari had played no role or had no concern with the scam. [30] On May 13, 2014 the IT department of Maharashtra cleared Nitin Gadkari's name and gave him a clean chit saying there is no enquiry/investigation presently pending.[31]

[32] When questioned on Marathi channel IBN-Lokmat, about why he did not avail a loan from banks, Gadkari explained that the balance sheets of the company were not in a suitable state, so he had requested his friend Dattatray to help him out.[32] Also, Gadkari's son Nikhil was allegedly a director with IRB at the time.

Gadkari argued that there was nothing wrong in having contractors invest in one's firms, [33] but opposition leaders have argued that all this suggests a quid pro quo for political favours granted by Gadkari.[34]

Repercussions of corruption charges[edit]

The news of these allegations broke a few months before Gadkari was to seek re-election as president of the BJP. At the time, Gadkari was to address several rallies for the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly election, 2012. India Today reported that BJP leader Shanta Kumar had suggested that Gadkari's presence was "affecting BJP's anti-corruption campaign."[35] Subsequently, Gadkari cancelled his scheduled rallies at Bilaspur and Solan on 30 October.

In early 2013, in the elections for BJP president, for which Gadkari was "close to clinching a second innings"[36] his chances unravelled with several senior leaders suggesting that the I-T indictment of the Purti groups investments had damaged his image,[37] and Gadkari was not re-elected.[38] Gadkari told the Times of India that he was stepping down until the inquiry proved him innocent.[18]

Some RSS functionaries have suggested that his exit was the result of infighting.[39]

Subsequently, Gadkari threatened the I-T officers, saying "when our party comes to power, there would be no Chidambaram or Sonia to save them (IT officials),".[40] The I-T officers association took umbrage at these remarks and demanded an apology.[41]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rajnath steps down, Gadkari takes over as BJP president
  2. ^ "Profile: Nitin Gadkari". BBC News. 23 January 2013. 
  3. ^ BJP's new chief seen as moderniser
  4. ^ Kanchan Gadkari, wife of State President BJP Nitin Gadkari[dead link]
  5. ^ "Nitin Gadkari's son's grand wedding". The Times of India. 26 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "Elections 2014: Why was Gadkari left out of Modi's rally posters?". Mid_Day. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  7. ^ Gadkari emerges as front-runner for post[dead link]
  8. ^ "Nitin Gadkari takes over as new BJP chief, Rajnath steps down". MSN India. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  9. ^ "BJP dumps Nitin Gadkari, gives Rajnath Singh his job". Business Standard. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  10. ^ "Nitin Gadkari wants Ganga – Cauvery Link of national rivers!". Agricultureinformation.com. 12 May 2010. Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  11. ^ [1][dead link][verification needed]
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "Nitin Gadkari | Nagpur News, Blogs, Jobs, Events, Classifieds, Travel, Education and Business Directory". Nagpurpulse.com. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  13. ^ BJP official site
  14. ^ "Biography for Nitin Gadkari". Silobreaker. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  15. ^ Kumar, Devesh (20 December 2009). "Features". The Times of India. 
  16. ^ PTI (19 December 2009). "Rajnath steps down, Gadkari takes over as BJP president". The Times of India. Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  17. ^ http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/bjp-president-nitin-gadkari-purti-group-arvind-kejriwal/1/226193.html
  18. ^ a b "What led to Nitin Gadkari's resignation as BJP president?". [Times of India]. 
  19. ^ a b "IT dept detects Rs. 7 crore evasion in Gadkari's companies". The Hindu. 5 May 2013. 
  20. ^ http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-05-13/news/49820651_1_nitin-gadkari-bjp-president-purti-group
  21. ^ http://www.moneylife.in/article/ajit-pawar-nitin-gadkari-gopinath-munde-involved-in-irrigation-scam-alleges-napm/32284.html
  22. ^ a b http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/no-candles-for-yogita-thakre/article2624807.ece
  23. ^ a b http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/girl-s-death-on-gadkari-grounds-hazy-as-ever-cops-want-case-closed/876467/
  24. ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/Family-activist-want-Gadkari-others-as-co-accused-in-case/articleshow/17054649.cms
  25. ^ http://purtigroup.com
  26. ^ Aditi Raja (9 November 2012). "I-T noose tightens around Nitin Gadkari, finds most of the addresses of investors in Purti group to be bogus". India Today. The Income Tax department, which had recently raided and searched the premises of various companies associated with the Purti group, [said in a report] that these 'shell companies' are 'fake' or 'non-existent'.
  27. ^ Sandeep Ashar & Rajshri Mehta (23 October 2012). "Mysterious investors in Gadkari's group share 'fake' addresses". Times of India. quote: Vidya Buildcon Private Ltd, Sanobar Infrastructure and Roller Multitrade — are all registered in an office on the second floor of Shree Niwas House... This was the headquarters of various companies belonging to the well-known Somani Group. Members of the Somani family and their employees present in the premises denied any knowledge regarding these firms.
  28. ^ http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-05-13/news/49820651_1_nitin-gadkari-bjp-president-purti-group
  29. ^ "Gadkari denies allegations of murky dealings". The Hindu. 21 October 2012. 
  30. ^ http://www.ndtv.com/elections/article/election-2014/why-congress-manish-tewari-apologised-to-bjp-s-nitin-gadkari-516289
  31. ^ http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-05-13/news/49820651_1_nitin-gadkari-bjp-president-purti-group
  32. ^ a b Will BJP president Nitin Gadkari get his second term in office? (26 October 2012). "In the Wrong Business". Kiran Tare and Bhavna Vij-Aurora. 
  33. ^ Sreenivasan Jain, Miloni Bhatt, Abhinav Bhatt (20 October 2012). "Nothing wrong in getting investments from contractors: Nitin Gadkari tells NDTV". NDTV. 
  34. ^ Krishna Kumar and Aditya Menon (16 October 2012). "Past returns to haunt BJP chief Nitin Gadkari". Daily Mail UK. 
  35. ^ Bhavna Vij-Aurora (25 January 2013). "The burden of Gadkari". India Today. 
  36. ^ "Nitin Gadkari: an ex-president of BJP trying to make Lok Sabha debut". NDTV. 28 March 2014. 
  37. ^ http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/bjp-dumps-nitin-gadkari-gives-rajnath-singh-his-job-113012200591_1.html
  38. ^ http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/bjp-drops-nitin-gadkari-says-rajnath-singh-to-be-president/1063132/
  39. ^ Pavan Dahat (30 January 2013). "Gadkari's exit was due to internal political conspiracy, says Vaidya". The Hindu. 
  40. ^ PTI (24 January 2013). "Where will you go when BJP comes to power? Nitin Gadkari threatens I-T officials". Times of India. 
  41. ^ "I-T officers' body demands apology from Gadkari". The Hindu. 27 January 2013. 
Preceded by
Vilas Muttemwar
Member of 16th Lok Sabha
for Nagpur

2014–
Incumbent