I-T raids on BJP Prez's son's Ideal Power, Ankur Seeds
NAGPUR: After a raid on politically connected contractors two days ago, the taxman was back on Thursday. This time the operation seems to be targeting businessmen close to BJP national president Nitin Gadkari. As a part of the raids on Mumbai-based IRB Infrastructure, the tax sleuths raided Ideal Power Ltd, one of the group companies coming up with a 540 MW power plant at Bela near Nagpur.
BJP president's son Nikhil Gadkari is an independent director in the Bela venture. He could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. Gadkari senior's personal assistant Manoj Wadekar, however, clarified through an e-mail that reports about his son's association with the company were misleading. Being an independent director, he has no stake in the company at all. Gadkari or the BJP have no financial relations with the company, Wadekar said.
Gadkari-controlled Purti Group has a sugar factory in this place at Bela.
A simultaneous raid was conducted on M/s Ankur Seeds, having an office at Ganeshpeth. Vijay Kashikar, one of the directors in this city-based company, is learnt to also have a stake in infrastructure business and is reported to be close friend of Gadkari senior. He was also one of the main patrons of an agriculture expo held by Gadkari a few months ago, sources said.
A director in Ankur Seeds said on the condition of anonymity that the focus of the raid was on the infrastructure business run in the name of M/s Galaxy Infrastructure by Kashikar. Although the company's head office at Ganeshpeth was visited by the sleuths, the probe was limited to infrastructure business as some related documents were kept there.
The company has six directors including Kashikar. However, homes of none of the other five were raided during the action. Even the company's promoter Ravi Kashikar who lives in Wardha was spared, said this director. The office of the Director of Investigation (income tax), at Nagpur said that none of the two raids originated from the local office and could have been a part of the operation from Mumbai or any other place.
IRB Infrastructure has a major stake in road building business. Along with its subsidiaries, the company has constructed or operated and maintained around 1200 kms of roads. The aggregate size of company's BOT projects stands at around Rs 330 crore, IRB's website said. The company is promoted by a young entrepreneur Virendera Mhaiksar. A former chairman of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India is also one of the directors in the company.
Ankur Seeds has a major presence in the seeds business in state, being in the business since 34 years. The company is headed by Ravi Kashikar as the chairman and M G Shembheker the managing director. Kashikar's wife Saroj is a veteran farm activist who was also a MLA from Pulgaon representing the Shetkari Sanghatana party.
Farm activists said that the seed dealers made a killing this season as cotton seeds were in high demand. A premium of almost Rs 300-400 more than the printed price was charged from the desperate farmers, activists said.