Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said the allegations were baseless. He said Damania had never met Gadkari and that the BJP was fighting against the NCP for it, along with the Congress, was looting the nation. He said it was a tactic used to divert attention. Another BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was his party that had exposed the scam. "We have been taking on the NCP," he said.
The latest development is a new twist to the irrigation scam which has rocked Maharashtra politics. The whistleblower, Damania, has played a significant role in exposing the Rs 72,000 crore scam. According to an NDTV report, Damania told that when she met Gadkari at the latter's Mumbai home in August, he told her not to push too hard to expose the scam.
Without naming Gadkari, Damania also accused the opposition party chief of expressing his inability to go on with the scam for he had a close relation with Pawar. The IAC activist also said that she had met Gadkari thrice since June last year.
She also said of having an SMS, which she had sent to Gadkari, expressing her disappointment with the latter's explanation, the NDTV report said. Gadkari, meanwhile, denied of having met Damania.
The BJP is in the opposition in Maharashtra, where the deputy chief minister, Ajit Pawar, has been accused of being associated with the scam during his tenure as the water resources minister between 1999 and 2009.
The situation turned sensitive after the NCP leadership assumed an unclear stand on the resignation tendered by Ajit Pawar, who said he was fed up with the accusations. The Congress-NCP ruling coalition in Maharashtra could face a survival crisis if the current problem leads to NCP pullout.