Mumbai: Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Manikrao Thakre on Tuesday said he will send a legal notice to BJP chief Nitin Gadkari for making "baseless allegations" against him of non-payment of Rs 23 lakh to sugarcane growers.

At a press conference, Thakre said due to the spate of allegations against Gadkari, the BJP leader is disturbed and has been levelling counter charges to divert attention and threatening the media for exposing him.

"I do not owe any money to sugarcane growers. This could be be a transaction between Gadkari's Purti group and the Yavatmal sugar co-operative factory. Transportation charges are involved because sugarcane from one factory is taken to another factory for crushing. But, I am not the chairman of the Yavatmal sugar factory," he said.

Lashing out at Gadkari, Thakre said, "The BJP national president says he works for the benefit of Vidarbha farmers. He is a member of the legislative council. How many times has he attended its proceedings and highlighted farmers' issues in the last five years".

Thakre alleged that Gadkari himself had duped farmers who had taken loans worth Rs 25 lakh from the Chandrapur District Co-operative Bank.

"In 2004-05, Purti Sugar Co-operative had entered into a deal with Satyam Engineering Consultants to set up a lift irrigation project in Usegaon village of Chandrapur district.

Farmers who trusted the deal because of Gadkari's involvement kept their land as collateral to get bank guarantee for the loan. However, Satyam did not do any work and backed out of the project, leaving farmers in the lurch," he said.

Thakre said he has written to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan not to allow private parties to purchase sugar co-operatives. "Sugar co-operatives should be run by the government with farmers' help. Otherwise the co-operative sector will be adversely affected," he said.


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