October 17, 2012 / 12:26 PM / 5 years ago

Gadkari involved in irrigation scam, says Kejriwal

Nitin Gadkari is seen in New Delhi April 9, 2010.Adnan Abidi/Files

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday accused Nitin Gadkari, the president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), of being involved in an irrigation scam in his home state of Maharashtra.

In a televised press conference, Kejriwal, citing a probe by his India Against Corruption activists, said Gadkari used his influence with the state's ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine and usurped land acquired to build a dam in Vidarbha region.

Congress-NCP has governed Maharashtra since 1999.

The scam runs into hundreds of millions of rupees, said Kejriwal, surrounded by his team members who were all wearing Gandhi caps.

Later, Gadkari appeared unruffled at a press conference as he refuted the claims made by Kejriwal, saying they are baseless and are meant to defame him.

"This is a conspiracy to defame BJP," Gadkari said. "I am ready for any kind of enquiry".

Kejriwal, who has set up an anti-corruption political party, had last week accused DLF of arranging favourable loans and real estate transactions for Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi.

The claims were detailed in a document posted on the group's website. Both Vadra and DLF have refuted the charges.

A political novice, Kejriwal has been hogging headlines for his corruption allegations against high-profile people, including Law Minister Salman Khurshid.

Reporting by Vipin Das, additional reporting by Anuja Jaiman; editing by Tony Tharakan

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