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I have never met Niira Radia, says Nitin Gadkari

Aarti Dhar



Nitin Gadkari

NEW DELHI: Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari on Saturday denied the charge that he had business relations with corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and said the Congress was spreading such allegations to divert the people's attention from the 2G spectrum scam.

Mr. Gadkari said he had not even seen Ms. Radia face to face, hence there was no question of his “helping her.”

As for the charge that he had favoured Ms. Radia in a helicopter deal in Maharashtra, he accused the Congress of being behind these allegations as the beleaguered party wanted to divert attention from itself.

Mr. Gadkari was speaking at a discussion on ‘What makes me an Indian,' organised here by the Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation to mark the 86 {+t} {+h} birthday of the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. My Faith is India, a book on Mr. Vajpayee authored by BJP MP Tarun Vijay, was released.

Challenging Rao Dhiraj Singh, Ms. Radia's estranged business partner, who alleged that she was close to the BJP leadership, Mr. Gadkari said he should put all facts in the public domain. All charges made against senior BJP leader L.K. Advani and him were “baseless.” (Rao Dhiraj Singh told a media house that Mr. Advani had taken part in a function organised by a Radia-owned trust, and Mr. Gadkari and Mr. Ananth Kumar had favoured the lobbyist.)

“I feel the Congress should clear its name, which is getting tarnished in the wake of new facts coming to light about the Commonwealth Games and 2G spectrum scams. It cannot clear its name by accusing others,” Mr. Gadkari said.

Asked whether the BJP felt that the Prime Minister's Office had given clearance for the CWG projects and spectrum allocation, he said: “In the letter which [the former Communications Minister] A. Raja has written to the Prime Minister on the 2G spectrum [allocation], he has clearly said he has taken action after consulting [him] and seeking his permission.”

The permission for every Games project, Mr. Gadkari said, was given by the Group of Ministers, the Expenditure Finance Committee, the Cabinet sub-committee, the Cabinet and the PMO, and just one person (Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi) could not be held responsible.

Congress MP clarifies

Rao Inderjit Singh, Congress MP and chairman of the Standing Committee on Information Technology, has clarified that he had “nothing to do with the activities of Rao Dhiraj Singh, as he has not had any practical relationship with, nor has he spoken to him, for the past two decades.”

In a statement here, Mr. Rao Inderjit Singh said Rao Dhiraj Singh did not hail from the immediate family of the late Rao Birender Singh, and was a relative by virtue of being the son of a deceased cousin of his.

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