New Delhi: The Congress on Friday called upon the government to order an inquiry on the basis of CAG report concerning alleged "financial wrongdoing" by the Purti Sakhar Karkhana, promoted by union minister Nitin Gadkari, and demanded he step down.
In a statement, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that Gadkari was promoter of the Purti Sakhar Karkhana and had been "indicted" by the CAG in its report tabled in Parliament on Thursday.
It said that the Karkhana, of which Gadkari "was a director, indeed the prime promoter," took a loan of Rs.84.12 crore from the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. (IREDA) for a project to be run on at least 75 percent renewable energy sources.
Singhvi alleged that loan was however used for setting up a coal-funded power project.
"The project not only got inexplicably delayed and got commissioned in March 2007, but also converted to being fully coal-based in gross violation of the prescribed allowed stipulation of a maximum 25 project deviation. In doing so, the company violated the very basis of getting a loan from IREDA," he said.
Singhvi said that the Purti group asked for a one-time settlement and paid back only Rs.71.35 crore, causing a loss of Rs.12.77 crore to the state exchequer. "In fact, the losses are much more, given the loss of interest," he said.
"Forget about the interest, Purti has not even paid back the full amount. There should be a judicial inquiry into the allegations agsint Purti and Gadkari's role in it."
Singhvi said the Bharatiya Janata Party used to attack the previous Congress-led UPA government at the Centre based on CAG reports that hadn't even been released. "Now that the CAG has published this report, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP should take cognizance of it."
He said that as a director and promoter, Gadkari had given personal guarantee for the loan.
"The reasons cited by the Purti group for the default and diversion of funds are untenable and point towards deliberate wrongdoing," he said.
Singhvi said the government should order an immediate inquiry by the Economic Offences Wing and Gadkari should be asked to step down as a minister till the inquiry was completed.