New Delhi: BJP president Nitin Gadkari, inching closer to an unprecedented second term as head of his party, has asked the Income Tax department to excuse him from a scheduled appearance on February 1, according to the Press Trust of India.
Mr Gadkari has asked for more time to meet officials who want to question him about alleged tax evasion and malpractices within a business empire he founded a few years ago.
The BJP is likely to accept Mr Gadkari as its president for another five years on Wednesday. The party's ideological mentor shot down an attempt by senior BJP leader LK Advani to have Mr Gadkari replaced by either Sushma Swaraj or Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.
Mr Advani and others have suggested that an expansive investigation against Mr Gadkari and his Purti Group, which he helped found in 2000, will dent the party's pitch as a graft-free option to the Congress-led government, which is mired in financial scandals. But the RSS, which ignored objections to Mr Gadkari in 2009, has made it clear that it will not bend, and the BJP, which traditionally selects a consensus candidate as its president, is likely to announce him as its leader on Wednesday.
Mr Gadkari quit as the chairman of the Purti Group in 2011. The company is being investigated by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and tax officials after a series of reports suggested it is propped up by a matrix of ghost investors.
The Income Tax department reportedly wanted to meet with Mr Gadkari to question him about documents it has exhume during its probe.
Sources in the department said Mr Gadkari has been asked for his personal appearance so that he can be confronted with the documents and probe conducted by the department in past few months.