Income Tax department today launched on-field inquiries at around nine locations in Mumbai belonging to alleged shell companies linked to Nitin Gadkari's Purti group, a day before he seeks a second straight term as BJP president.
Sources in the IT department said the exercise by its investigation wing was in continuation of the earlier searches carried out at the shell companies (entities which serve as a vehicle for business transactions without themselves having any significant assets or operations) related to Purti group in
Gadkari, who had earlier denied allegations of any wrongdoing and said he had resigned from the group sometime back, came out with a statement condemning these inquiries by the IT authorities as "calculated, mischievous and politically motivated".
He described the "highly questionable move" as a "command performance at the behest of its political masters sitting in New Delhi who have hatched a political conspiracy to tarnish his image".
Gadkari said IT department's act "smacks of the ruling UPA's nefarious designs to create confusion in the BJP ranks".
He warned the UPA government against indulging in political vendetta against its opponents and said that such cheap gimmicks will not deviate him from fulfilling his commitment to serving the nation.
"We are verifying the addresses of the companies, the nature of the business and (whether) do they really exist," an IT source said in
According to sources, the inquiries followed "certain doubts" raised by the Pune branch of the department, which asked its Mumbai counterpart to inquire into those.
"If need be, we will record the statements of the persons whose names are shown as directors of these companies," the sources told
PTI on condition of anonymity.
Purti Power and Sugar Limited also issued a statement saying the companies on which the IT Department has conducted the "surveys" are not part of the Purti Group and have only invested in it.
"Purti Group has nothing to do with the actions of IT department," Sudhir Dive, Managing Director of PPSL said.
According to sources, the on-field inquiries, which came a day before Gadkari
was to seek a second straight term as BJP chief, followed "certain
doubts" raised by the Pune branch of the I-T department which asked its
Mumbai counterpart to look into those.
Gadkari, who was asked by the I-T department to appear before it yesterday in
connection with the probe into alleged dubious investments in Purti group of
companies, had sought more time to present his case.
Citing his preoccupation with party work as the reason for his inability to
appear before the tax authorities, he sought more time, sources had said
They said he has been asked to appear on February 1.
Two authorised representatives of Gadkari had met IT officials in Nagpur and
submitted a 25-page document in reply to the department's questions regarding
his personal transactions and investments related to the Purti group and a few
Gadkari had earlier denied allegations of any wrongdoing and said he had
resigned from the group sometime ago.
The IT department had earlier issued summons to Gadkari asking him to appear
before it in the second half of this month as the taxmen were probing a case of
alleged tax evasion against him and his group of companies.
Gadkari has been asked to present himself in person so he can be confronted with
documents and facts gathered during the probe by IT authorities in the last few
The department has been probing various firms that have invested in Gadkari's
company Purti Power and Sugar Limited (PPSL).