|Minister of Transport|
26 May 2014
|Prime Minister||Narendra Modi|
|President of Bharatiya Janata Party|
1 January 2010 – 22 January 2013
|Preceded by||Rajnath Singh|
|Succeeded by||Rajnath Singh|
|Minister for PWD, Maharashtra|
27 May 1995 – 1999
27 May 1957 |
Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
|Political party||Bharatiya Janata Party|
|Children||Nikhil, Sarang and Ketki|
|Alma mater||Nagpur University|
Nitin Jairam Gadkari pronunciation (help·info); (born 27 May 1957) is an Indian politician and the current Transport minister under the BJP central cabinet in the 16th Loksabha. Mr Gadkari was appointed to head BJP in December 2009 after the party suffered a defeat in the general elections earlier that year. 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.
- 1 Background, family and education
- 2 Political career
- 3 Industrial career
- 4 Controversies
- 5 Benami investments in Purti Group
- 6 Repercussions of corruption charges
- 7 See also
- 8 References
Background, family and education
Nitin Gadkari 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. He has served as the president of the Maharashtra BJP. 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.
Support for privatisation
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.. 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
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.
- Ex Minister, Govt of Maharashtra
- chairman, Purti Group of Companies
- President, Bharatiya Janata Party, Maharashtra State
- Ex-Leader of Opposition, Maharashtra Legislative Council
- Former Minister for Public Works Department, Maharashtra State
- Member of Legislative Council, Maharashtra State
- Elected to the Maharashtra Govt. Legislative Council in 1989 from graduates constituency, Nagpur Region.
- Re-Elected in the year 1990.
- Re-Elected in the year 1996 and elected unopposed in 2002.
- Inducted in the Maharashtra State Government Cabinet as the Minister for Public Works on 27 May 1995.
- Ex-Member of the High Power Committee for Privatisation, Government of Maharashtra.
- Ex-Chairman, Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation, India.
- Ex-Guardian Minister for Nagpur District, Govt. of Maharashtra.
- Ex-Chairman, Mining policy Implementation Committee, Govt. of Maharashtra.
- Ex-Chairman, Metropolis Beautification Committee, Govt. of Maharashtra.
- Ex-Leader of Opposition, Maharashtra Legislative Council, Chairman National Rural Road Development Committee
- Chairman, Review Committee of CPWD, Govt. of India.
- State President of Bhartiya Janata Party, Maharashtra.
- National President of BJP, India.
2014 Lok Sabha election
Nitin Gadkari does not consider himself a career politician. He is known to control these establishments in the following way;
- Poly sack Industrial Society Ltd – Founder and chairman.
- Nikhil Furniture and Appliances Pvt. Ltd – Promoter and Director.
- Antyodaya Trust – Founder and Member
- Empress Employees Co-operative Paper Mills Ltd – Founder and chairman.
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.
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 is 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 it is a major step to boost the local economy where the cash directly rises in the hand of the farmer. Sugar cane produces bagasse and molasses – where bagasse 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, assisting locals with Solar Rickshaws and much more.
In 2012, following an RTI disclosure, a number of irregularities were discovered re: investments in the Purti group, which Gadkari had founded. It was widely reported that this may have been why he failed to be re-elected as BJP president in January 2013. In May 2013, the Income Tax department assessed the firm as having evaded Rs. 70 million via improper means. 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. Currently, he is Member of the 16th Lok Sabha from Nagpur constituency.
Allegations of bribe
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.
Just before the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly Elections, The Election Commission (EC) on 6 October 2014 issued a show cause notice to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari for "statements to the effect of inducing the voters to take bribe" during campaigning in Maharashtra assembly polls.
According to the English translation of the speech made by the former BJP president in Marathi, he had allegedly said: "Now, I am watching your faces and I have some skill of predicting the future by way of face reading. You have an opportunity of "Laxmi darshan" in next 10 days. Special people to get foreign made, ordinary people to get local brand..
"All are Gandhivadis asking for Rs 5000. In these days of inflation, keep one thing in mind, eat what you wish and drink what you desire. Keep whatever you get. This is the time when illegally earned money can go to poor. Therefore, do not say no to Laxmi. But think while you vote. Your vote should be for the development of Maharashtra."
EC said his statement amounts to "abetting and promoting the electoral offence of bribery" within the meaning of Section 171 B read with Section 17l E of the IPC as it includes offering food, drink or entertainment.
Yogita Thakre's death
Seven-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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
Benami investments in Purti Group
Nitin Gadkari floated the Purti Power and Sugar Ltd (now Purti Group) in 1995, 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. Another three investing firms were found co-located with the Somani Group, but no one knew of these firms.
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. 
Loan from contractor firm IRB
In 2010, when the Purti group had incurred losses of Rs. 640 million, 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 apology was based on the judicial commission mentioned that Nitin Gadkari had played no role or had no concern with the scam. 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.
 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. 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,  but opposition leaders have argued that all this suggests a quid pro quo for political favours granted by Gadkari.
Repercussions of corruption charges
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." 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" his chances unravelled with several senior leaders suggesting that the I-T indictment of the Purti groups investments had damaged his image, and Gadkari was not re-elected. Gadkari told the Times of India that he was stepping down until the inquiry proved him innocent.
Some RSS functionaries have suggested that his exit was the result of infighting.
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),". The I-T officers association took umbrage at these remarks and demanded an apology.
|Minister of Road Transport and Highways
25 May 2014 to present
- Rajnath steps down, Gadkari takes over as BJP president
- "Profile: Nitin Gadkari". BBC News. 23 January 2013.
- BJP's new chief seen as moderniser
- Kanchan Gadkari, wife of State President BJP Nitin Gadkari[dead link]
- "Elections 2014: Why was Gadkari left out of Modi's rally posters?". Mid_Day. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
- Gadkari emerges as front-runner for post[dead link]
- "Nitin Gadkari takes over as new BJP chief, Rajnath steps down". MSN India. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
- "BJP dumps Nitin Gadkari, gives Rajnath Singh his job". Business Standard. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- "Nitin Gadkari wants Ganga – Cauvery Link of national rivers!". Agricultureinformation.com. 12 May 2010. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
- [dead link][verification needed]
- "Nitin Gadkari | Nagpur News, Blogs, Jobs, Events, Classifieds, Travel, Education and Business Directory". Nagpurpulse.com. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- BJP official site
- "Biography for Nitin Gadkari". Silobreaker. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- Kumar, Devesh (20 December 2009). "Features". The Times of India.
- PTI (19 December 2009). "Rajnath steps down, Gadkari takes over as BJP president". The Times of India. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
- "What led to Nitin Gadkari's resignation as BJP president?". [Times of India].
- "IT dept detects Rs. 7 crore evasion in Gadkari's companies". The Hindu. 5 May 2013.
- 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'.
- 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.
- "Gadkari denies allegations of murky dealings". The Hindu. 21 October 2012.
- Will BJP president Nitin Gadkari get his second term in office? (26 October 2012). "In the Wrong Business". Kiran Tare and Bhavna Vij-Aurora.
- Sreenivasan Jain, Miloni Bhatt, Abhinav Bhatt (20 October 2012). "Nothing wrong in getting investments from contractors: Nitin Gadkari tells NDTV". NDTV.
- Krishna Kumar and Aditya Menon (16 October 2012). "Past returns to haunt BJP chief Nitin Gadkari". Daily Mail UK.
- Bhavna Vij-Aurora (25 January 2013). "The burden of Gadkari". India Today.
- "Nitin Gadkari: an ex-president of BJP trying to make Lok Sabha debut". NDTV. 28 March 2014.
- Pavan Dahat (30 January 2013). "Gadkari's exit was due to internal political conspiracy, says Vaidya". The Hindu.
- PTI (24 January 2013). "Where will you go when BJP comes to power? Nitin Gadkari threatens I-T officials". Times of India.
- "I-T officers' body demands apology from Gadkari". The Hindu. 27 January 2013.
|Member of 16th Lok Sabha