Mumbai, Feb 23: Asserting that the NDA government has never protected scam-tainted people, Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday said the perpetrators of the PNB bank fraud will be brought to book. Gadkari was replying to questions related to the alleged Rs 11,400-crore fraud at Punjab National Bank (PNB) and its fallout.
"The perpetrators will be brought to book. Our government has never protected such people and has done every bit possible to put the nation on top," he said.
He was speaking at a programme, 'Chaupal', organised by a news channel at a hotel in suburban Bandra. Asked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's silence over the mega fraud, he said, "The people wanting the PM to say something on it should be little mindful before asking such questions. They should know who is responsible for this scam."
On his possible return to the state politics, the minister, who handles a slew of key portfolios like the Road Transport and Highways, Shipping, Water resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, said he is now "settled" in New Delhi and has no intention to come back to his home state of Maharashtra.
"Let me clarify...I am not coming back to Mumbai and Maharashtra in any circumstances. Yes, earlier I was not willing to leave Mumbai and Maharashtra.
"But, now I am very much settled in Delhi and satisfied with whatever I have been entrusted to deliver at the national level. I am now emotionally attached with Delhi. I have lots of work to do," he said.
Gadkari's assertion comes in the backdrop of speculation that he may be sent back to Maharashtra as Chief Minister, replacing incumbent Devendra Fadnavis. In the past too, he has junked such a possibility. In August last year, Gadkari was quoted as saying that Fadnavis was doing a good job in the state.
"There is a lot of pollution in Delhi - air pollution as well as political pollution. But now I have got accustomed to it," the Union minister said. Gadkari said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has alloted sufficient funds for the portfolios he is handling and maintained he is also getting good support from the Prime Minister in discharging his duties.
Gadkari said getting a driving licence in India is one of the easiest tasks in the world and maintained 30 per of such documents in the country are bogus.
"A whopping five lakh road accidents take place in the country in which 1.5 lakh people die every year. Efforts are being undertaken to make the road travel safer and bring down the number of accidents substantially."
To check the menace of bogus driving licences, such documents will now be electronically registered under the government's umbrella e-governance programme, he said. Also, 2,000 motor training centres are going to be opened in the country, the senior minister said. It will be made mandatory for the Regional Transport Office (RTO) to issue a licence within three days of a person clearing the driving test, Gadkari said. Gadkari said technology will be used to curb traffic offences.