NEW DELHI /MUMBAI: Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari was on Friday at the centre of a controversy over reports that he and his family spent two nights on a luxury yacht owned by Essar group in the waters of French Riviera in July 2013 on which a PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court.
Political rivals used the opportunity to attack the minister and his party while Gadkari denied any wrongdoing saying he has not taken money from any corporate in his life.
He admitted he had taken a chopper ride from French city Nice to Riviera waterfront for the yacht cruise during a trip he had made in 2013 when he said he was not a minister, MP or MLA and he had paid from the entire trip from his “family account”. The controversy erupted out of a ‘whistle-blower’ deciding to go public with the internal company communications of Essar Group, which he claimed, showed how the corporate cultivated individuals in positions of power and showering gifts and favours to push its interests.
Gadkari on Friday said he and his entire family had gone on a vacation to Norway paying from out of the “family account” and asserted that in his life he had never taken money from any corporates.
PIL in SC
A PIL was on Friday filed in the Supreme Court seeking a court-monitored probe by SIT or CBI into the alleged “political-bureaucratic-corporate nexus” saying corporates use their money power to change public policies, and return the favour to politicians and bureaucrats for receiving the benefits.
The PIL, filed by Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), an NGO, said corporates used their money and influence to plant stories in the media and there was a need for the government to cancel privileges like subsidised land, newsprint and houses extended to media organisations and journalists who resort to paid news, or publishing news reports to favour certain section of the corporates.