FORMER Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh is notorious for making irresponsible and slanderous attacks on all and sundry. He is a hit man of 10, Janpath, who makes unsubstantiated allegations against rivals and denounces anyone daring to expose the involvement of the dynasty in corrupt deals. Latest is his preposterous claim about the “evidence” UPA Government has against the relatives of AB Vajpayee and LK Advani and that if revealed it would cause huge embarrassment to the party and its leadership. Equally scandalous is his assertion that neither the UPA nor the Congress would go public with these allegations on the unacceptable premise that it was a part of an understanding between the two national parties.
BJP promptly rebutted this absurd claim and mischievous attempt to blackmail and asserted that there was “absolutely nothing” against the two most respected national leaders. It dared the Congress and UPA to come out with the “evidence” instead of making malicious statements to divert public attention from the huge scams that has diminished the dynasty, the Congress party the Government.
Street smart Arvind Kejriwal and his associate Anjali Damania were acutely embarrassed when their attempt to malign BJP president Nitin Gardkari failed. Their much-hyped press conference to “expose” BJP leader turned out to be a damp squib. The complainant on whose behalf they made allegations was not presented to the media on the premise – that turned out to be false – that he had received “death threats”. The very next day the man concerned – Ganjan Gadge – told Time of India that he had never been threatened by any one and that he had no complaint against Gadkari. Giving a lie to Anjali’s assertions, the farmer said it was she who had approached him to file a complaint on the promise that she would get his land back to him from the irrigation department.
As if this unethical conduct on her part was not enough, Damania found herself in the dock for having used her movement against the dam to shift its site to save her seven acres from flooding. She then got the land use changed presumably because of her influence as a social activist, sliced it into 37 residential plots to make easy money. IAC has been campaigning against “land use change” industry and one of its senior members is now found to be part of the said industry. To wriggle out of the tight spot he got into, Kejriwal ordered a private enquiry by three retired judges against three prominent members of his team – Prashant Bhusan, Mayank Gandhi and Anjali Damania – for their alleged unethical conduct. This is fine so far as it goes but the question is: Who will order an enquiry into serious allegations levelled by social activists against Kejriwal’s NGOs that received millions of dollors as grants from Ford Foundation, Dutch Embassy and other foreign funding agencies? Internet is flooded with countless allegations against the social activists-turned politician for being a cog in the American intricate machine that is rolling again in Asia to reassert control through machinations. Kejriwal must come clean on his NGOs foreign funding and anti-development activities to establish his credibility as a crusader against corruption.
Last week, a section of media came out with certain allegations against Nitin Gadkari promoted Purti Power and Sugar Ltd. They created hype by round the clock telecasting allegations that registered offices of some of the companies that funded Purti group appear to be false and that certain persons close to Gadkari – including his former driver – were directors of some of the companies of the Purti group. This is nothing but trial by media. Allegations must be backed by evidence that has not been produced. The biggest lender and investor in the Purti group, Dattatraya P Mahiskar of the Global Safety Vision Pvt. Ltd. has defended his loan of Rs 164 crore to the group saying the money was from his personal savings. Sudhir Dive, Managing Director of Purti Group, says there was nothing suspicious about investments and growth of Purti and maintains that the group is paying back in installments the loan they took from Mahiskar’s company on 14 per cent per anum interest. He disclosed that though Gadkari promoted the group and was its founder chairman, he was no longer on its board for the last 14 months. The facts he made public are revealing. Gadkari owns only 310 shares and his son Nikhil 5,000 shares. They together own only 0.01 per cent of Paruti stake.
Dive denied there was any conflict of interest involved in Mahiskar funding the group. Although Mahiskar’s IRB group got important construction contracts when Gadkari was PWD Minister in Maharashtra, it was the Central Government and not the Maharashtra PWD that allotted tenders to IRB in the year 2003 and that toll contracts to that company were allotted by Congress-NCP Government after Gadkari had demitted office. Responding to the queries about false registered offices of certain companies that funded Purti, Dive says his group can’t be faulted for this. It is for the authorities concerned to find out the truth about their registered offices. There is hardly anything to question Dive’s contention that several companies and individuals, including a large number of farmers and professionals, invested in Purti because people had faith in Gadkari’s probity and entrepreneurship. BJP president and his party have responded to the allegations by asserting they were open to a fair and independent enquiry. This is in sharp contrast to those who are defending indefensible members of the dynasty and Himachal Congress leader Virbhadra Singh.
BJP’s track record in dealing with allegations of corruption against its leaders inspires confidence. Lal Krishan Advani had not only resigned as Leader of the Opposition and vacated his seat in the Parliament but also vowed not to enter Parliament till he was absolved of all the charges by the judiciary after he was falsely implicated by Narasimaha Rao Government in the infamous Jain Hawala case. Similarly, Bangaru Laxman was asked to quit as party chief even though he was a victim of politically motivated entrapment and not a journalistic sting. The allegation that the BJP is soft on the corrupt belonging to the dynasty and the Congress is a canard spread by IAC to gain political mileage for the party that is yet to be named. It was the BJP that took up CWG, 2G and Coalgate scams with full force to corner the ruling alliance. It also demanded a credible and independent enquiry into the land deals of Robert Vadra. Again it was BJP which launched an offensive against Himachal Congress leader Virbhadra Singh for payments of around Rs 2.5 crore made to him when he was the Union Minister of Steel by the Ispat Industries on the basis of documents seized by the Income Tax Department during a raid. Corruption and money laundering by Congress leaders is now one of the core issues in Himachal elections.
Digvijay Singh and Arvind Kejriwal are hit-and-run guerillas. While Singh is facing a CBI enquiry into the notorious Treasure Island scam in Indore, the internet is flooded with allegations against Kejriwal’s NGOs. Their wild allegations san evidence shouldn’t be taken seriously. An independent and credible enquiry into allegations against senior leaders is the way to deal with mud-slinging.