Nitin Gadkari recalls how a decision by him upset Dhirubhai Ambani, Balasaheb Thackeray

Nitin Gadkari also narrated that how he was refused a credit card by ICICI Bank at that time.

Gadkari also recalled that how then ICICI Bank MD KV Kamath, who was on board a flight he was travelling in, came to him and praised the work being done by him.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari is known for openly expressing his views on different issues. While addressing a national conference on investment opportunities in highways, transport and logistics in Mumbai yesterday, Gadkari recalled when his one decision had upset not only Dhirubhai Ambani but even then chief minister Manohar Joshi and Balasaheb Thackeray.

Recalling his term as the Public Works Department (PWD) minister in the first Shiv Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra, Gadkari said, “Today’s when I came to this conference in Mumbai, this reminded me of an investment when I was a state minister in 1995 and Reliance had submitted tender for Mumbai-Pune Express Highway, and I had rejected the tender. Dhirubhai (Ambani) was there at that time, and he was very upset with me, even my chief minister and other leaders were also upset with me. Balasaheb Thackeray was there and he asked me why did you do that? I told him that I will raise money from the public and will build the express highway and Worli-Bandra Sea link project and 55 flyovers. Then everyone was laughing at me.”

Gadkari further added, “At that time my Chief Minister was Manohar Joshi and he told me that though he liked my idea but he didn’t have trust in it. But he asked me to go for it. He said that it may not happen. Then MSRDC was established for investment and I was founder chairman of it. RC Sinha, who was my Managing Director and later went on to become Additional Chief Secretary, we both used to go to small forums with laptops, which was new at that time, I was 36 at that time, we went to the chamber of commerce and other places, did presentation inviting them to invest in those projects. At that time, we went to investors and now investors are coming to us.”

Later, Maharashtra State Roads Development Corporation (MSRDC) went to capital markets to raise Rs 500 crore but received Rs 1,160 crore. The second time when it wanted to raise Rs 650 crore, MSRDC ended up with Rs 1,100 crore. He further said while Reliance quoted Rs 3,600 crore for the expressway, MSRDC completed the project in less than half the amount Rs 1,600 crore.

“Even Ratan Tata told me that I am smarter than them as he never expected so much money could be raised from the market for infra projects,” Gadkari recalled.

Gadkari also recalled that how then ICICI Bank MD KV Kamath, who was on board a flight he was travelling in, came to him and praised the work being done by him. To this, Gadkari said, “Kamath sir, you are praising me but your bank refused me a credit card. He informed that his bank’s policy is such that they don’t give credit cards to lawyers and politicians. However, later he arranged that for me.”

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