"We will trace the source of funds of the companies including the 18 companies that invested in Purti," a top IT official told PTI in Mumbai on condition of anonymity. The official said prima facie 'shell' companies (inactive firms used as a vehicle for various financial manoeuvres or kept dormant for future use in some other capacity) had pumped money into Gadkari's company Purti Power and Sugar Limited (PPSL).
Sources in the IT department said a report would be submitted to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) shortly. "We have already started gathering documents relating to these companies," they said, adding officials in the investigation wing of the department in Mumbai and Pune were involved in the probe.
Officials of the investing companies would be summoned in due course and, if needed, the BJP chief would also be asked to be present, the sources said. Gadkari, meanwhile, cancelled his scheduled trip to Delhi with his personal staff in Nagpur saying he was indisposed.
He is at the centre of a raging controversy over funding of PPSL with media reports claiming that major investments and large loans to Purti were made by Ideal Road Builders (IRB) group, which had won contracts between 1995 and 1999, when the BJP chief was PWD minister in Maharashtra.
The Corporate Affairs Ministry said it is looking into investments made in Gadkari's company. "The matter is being looked into," a senior Corporate Affairs Ministry official said in New Delhi.
The official was responding to a query on whether the Ministry has started probe into allegations of dubious funding into Gadkari's company. On Tuesday, Corporate Affairs Minister Veerappa Moily had said that Registrars of Companies would inquire into the allegations. Gadkari has denied the allegations and said he was prepared for a probe.