BeyondHeadlines News Desk
New Delhi: Soon after corporate Niira Radia’s disclosure before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has links with the Shahid Balwa-owned real estate and telecom companies, Pawar denied to have any links with Balwa.
Radia has told the CBI that Pawar has close connections with Balwa and that she has no documentary evidence to prove it. She believes that Pawar is a “key player” in Balwa’s real estate company, DB Realty.
“What I saw in TV and newspapers…she is saying has not got any proof…this is her perception. I want to make one thing absolutely clear…in this realty and telecom…we have no relations…I have not one naya paisa in the company,” said Pawar to NDTV today.
Balwa has emerged as a central player in the country’s largest scam – the 2G spectrum scam. He was the main promoter for DB Realty and Swan Telecom, which was allegedly one of the major beneficiaries of the scam. Balwa has been arrested for allegedly routing a Rs 200 crore kickback to former Telecom Minister A Raja, who is also in jail for selling spectrum and mobile network licenses at thruway prices in 2008 to Swan and other companies that were ineligible.
The Opposition has repeatedly confronted Pawar and his party, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), for close ties to Balwa. In Maharashtra, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) said that Pawar had used airplanes and helicopters owned by Balwa. “As the party president on many occasions, we hire aircraft… and we hired their aircraft. We paid money by cheque…it is not the only company we have used for helicopters,” said the minister.
The agriculture minister reiterated today that he knew Balwa’s business partner, Vinod Goenka, through his father, who operates several businesses, including a mill in Pawar’s constituency of Baramati.