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Pawar dismisses Radia claims, BJP wants issue probed

Thursday April 14, 2011 08:16:22 PM, IANS

New Delhi: Corporate lobbyist Niira Radia's claim that Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has a financial interest in DB Realty was dismissed by the NCP chief Thursday as an "absolute lie" but the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party said the issue needs to be probed further.

"This is an absolute lie and a foolish statement and I have no financial or any interest in this company. The person Vinod Goenka (DB Realty promoter)… his father knows me from many years. He has set up a milk processing unit in my hometown 20 years back and that unit is going well," Pawar told a TV channel.

The Congress refused to comment on Radia's claims on the chief of the UPA ally.

Radia in her statement to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) claimed that Pawar may be controlling the controversial company DB Realty and may have pursued the issue of 2G spectrum and licence for Swan Telecom with former communications minister A. Raja.

She said Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka were key people in DB Realty, and in that context she mentioned the name of Pawar. Radia, however, said she had no documentary proof or any other evidence to back her statement.

Pawar said he has good family relations with the Goenka family.

"I have good family relations with his father and that is why I know the second generation also very well and they are doing good service for my farmers," he said.

Refusing to comment on Pawar, Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said it will not be appropriate for the party to comment on the issue as the minister had already reacted.

"The news is about an individual who is a senior minister. He himself has given an elaborate response. Our making a comment is not appropriate," Tewari said.

BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told IANS that "all those who were on the radar of Radia for corruption should be probed".

"Unfortunately, the government is indulging in selective leaks but it cannot escape from its collective responsibility," Naqvi said.

He said Radia had mentioned that she had no documentary proof of her allegations relating to Pawar but the "government's credibility was low in the wake of series of scams".

"Rather than leaks it (government) should take concrete action," Naqvi said.

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman did not directly comment on Radiia's reported revelations to CBI but indicated that authorities should seek clarifications from Pawar.

"Niira Radia was in the thick of things on (2G spectrum allocation). She has made comments on Sharad Pawar though she has not produced any documentary evidence.

Probably she knows a lot about Pawar and he knows a lot about her. We would not say more," Sitharaman said. 







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