Gadkari says no wrong done in acquiring land, party with him

New Delhi: BJP President Nitin Gadkari today rejected allegations that he had acquired land in Maharashtra in an improper manner and expressed readiness for any kind of probe while his party leaders rallied behind him with a vow to fight the charges politically.

Soon after Arvind Kejriwal levelled the allegations, Gadkari dismissed these as "baseless, wrong and unfortunate" and said the activist-turned-politician was trying to usurp the opposition space in collusion with Congress whose image has suffered due to corruption cases.

"The allegations of land (grabbing) are absurd. Land has been given on lease to a charitable trust which functions like a cooperative. It is not owned by me," Gadkari said.

"I am ready for any kind of probe," he said, while claiming that the land (about 100 acres) was a wasteland valued at only Rs 20 lakh.

"The land has not been given to a private company or an individual. It is not personal," he insisted.

Senior party leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley rallied behind Gadkari, claiming he had done no wrong and the allegations were "false and baseless".

Addressing a joint press conference, the two leaders took a dig at activist-turned-politician Kejriwal, saying he was rubbishing all parties to "hog the limelight".

"Lot of hype was created about the press conference as if some big bomb is being exploded… He (Kejriwal) tried his best to dig out some scam but could not find anything," said Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

"We are happy that our national president is not involved in any scam. The party is fully with him," she said.

Dubbing Kejriwal's press conference as "just like an election rally", Swaraj said, "We will fight politically. We won't go for defamation suit."

Jaitley said, "A mountain of what was not even a mole-hill sought to be created… The hitman (Kejriwal) has scored a self-goal."