New Delhi/Nagpur: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Nitin Gadkari, who is under fire for largescale corruption -- loves to remain in the news, courtesy his political storms.
Here's a look at some of his controversies.
In September, Anjali Damania, an IAC activist, claimed that she has personally met Gadkari and requested his help for exposing the alleged Rs 70,000-crore Irrigation scam in Maharashtra. She claimed that Gadkari out-rightly rejected to help her, citing that he had business interests with NCP chief Sharad Pawar and that both the leaders mutually help each other to reach their personal financial goals and ambitions.
India Against Corruption (IAC) activist Arvind Kejriwal has also claimed that Gadkari flouted rules to help his own industries instead of helping farmers of Maharastra. A preliminary probe carried out by the Registrar of Companies have found that firms that invested in Gadkari's Purti Power and Sugar Ltd have bogus directors and addresses.
Dawood vs Vivekananda
Gadkari may have meant well but his remark is bound to raise a few eyebrows. At a meet, while trying to explain that gender discrimination is unfair and that people should be judged only on the basis of their qualities, Gadkari made an unlikely comparison between Swami Vivekananda and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
Gadkari said, "As per psychology, if we compare the IQ level of Swami Vivekananda and that of Dawood Ibrahim, it could have almost been the same. But Vivekananda used it in nation building, brotherhood and spiritualism, while Dawood used that in excelling in the crime world."
Gadkari has dismissed the allegations levelled against him by Kejriwal, saying his assets have remained unchanged in the last four years.
"When I filed my nomination papers for legislative council election in 2008, my total assets were worth Rs 8 crore and liabilities stood at Rs 2 crore. That includes my car and ancestral property. Since then, there has been no change in the assets and liabilities," Gadkari told TOI.
The IAC website claimed that Gadkari has "five power-producing industries and three sugar industries in Maharashtra". "In a short span, Gadkari has built a huge business empire, with more than 15 companies in (several) sectors, including construction, sugar, distillery, power, coal, agro, etc," the website read.
But Gadkari said the cooperative sugar factories, power plants and the Purti Group of companies he took over were debt-ridden. "I am not an office-bearer of any of these organizations. Despite huge losses, I took over them for the cause of farmers," Gadkari said.
Links with Ramdev
Gadkari recently created a flutter when he touched Baba Ramdev's feet, saying it was a mark of respect and he saw nothing wrong seeking the blessings of the yoga guru.
He thereby fuelled the controversy again over the anti-graft crusaders' links to the BJP-RSS combine, which is something that has never been explicitly spelled out by Team Anna and its various constituents. Several trusts run by Ramdev are under the scanner of income tax and other authorities. While the Income Tax department has slapped a notice of Rs 58 crore against Ramdev's trusts, the Service Tax authorities have issued a notice of Rs 4.94 crore to one of his trusts for alleged duty evasion on its income raised through country-wide 'yog shivirs' (yoga camps).
Nearly 1 lakh people were said to have attended the extravagant wedding reception that the BJP president threw for his son at the sprawling Vidarbha Cricket Association lawns two years back.
As the icing on the cake, Gadkari was said to have gifted the young couple a Rs 9-crore bungalow and a BMW sedan.
The fusion of business and politics is a key element to Gadkari's rise from a mere MLC to the president of the BJP in less than two decades. But this mix also carried with it the seeds of his possible destruction.
On May 2009, 7-year-old Yogita Thakre -- the daughter of a domestic help Vimal -- was found dead in a car in the compound of the home where the BJP politician lives.
On December 21, 2011, a court in Nagpur severely criticised the investigating agencies probing Yogita's mysterious death. So far, nothing has happened.
Taking a dig at Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s statements that women who got raped, would be provided with government jobs if they were educated, Gadkari said he would prefer an administration which would chop off the hands of rapists so that people would not dare to outrage the modesty of women. The BJP president also said the party intended to establish Ram Rajya in the state, if it came to power.
(With inputs from The Mail Online, TOI, hot trends)