WEB DESK / NEW DELHI
Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday described the Congress’s allegations of “impropriety” and “conflict of interest” as “false and malicious campaign”.
In a statement, the BJP leader also said that the entire issue was nothing but another episode of Congress “spit and run” style of politics to divert attention from main issues relating to the common man.
“The Congress has the habit of repeatedly indulging in malicious campaigns which are full of factual inaccuracies. For cheap political mileage the opposition party is running this type of motivated propaganda,” said Goyal, the Railways Minister.
He said that the malicious statement by Congress “factually misleads” and makes “incorrect conclusions” with false and defamatory statements and it was full of factual inaccuracies, mix up of dates and alluding to events with no relevance to his brief association with Shirdi Industries Ltd.
The Congress alleged that a company associated with Goyal in the past was given a “haircut” loan waiver of 65 per cent on the outstanding loan amount of over Rs 650 crore, terming it a damning tale of conflict of interest, sweetened deals, gross impropriety and bank loan defaults by Shirdi Industries Ltd with past and present affiliation to Piyush Goyal and his family.
The party sought Goyal’s removal from the Union Cabinet and a judicial investigation by a Supreme Court judge into the case.
Goyal admitted that as an investment banker and as chartered accountant, he was associated with Shirdi Industries Ltd. as a whole time Director from April 25, 2008 till September 30, 2009 and thereafter served as non-executive Chairman till July 1, 2010, when he resigned.
Refuting the allegations, he said there was no fresh loan approved of Rs 258.62 crore as claimed by the Congress. “It was only an enhancement of the existing loans from Rs 181.82 crore (increased by 40 per cent in the normal course of business).”
Noting that he was neither a MP nor the Director of State Bank of India (SBI) at the time of enhancement, he said, “There is no question of influencing this loan enhancement.”
He said the issues after 2010 in Shirdi Industries, have got nothing to do with him as he had no role in the Company after July 1, 2010, and any distress the company had relates to 2013 when Congress was in power.
“In any case, Goyal has had no relationship with Shirdi Industries since the last 8 years and is not responsible for their issues. None of the Ministries handled by Goyal dealt with this company,” the statement read.
The minister said that the loan from Asis Industries to Intercon Advisors was not given in 2015-16 as alleged by the Congress but on September 24, 2012, a good two years after he left the company and was taken in the normal course of lending from Asis Industries at interest of 12 per cent per annum which was higher than prevailing market rates.
“The Congress cannot distinguish between a pure commercial transaction and the corrupt practices regularly indulged in by Congress and its leaders,” he said.
Goyal said that there has been absolutely no wrongdoing or irregularity on his part and he was being targeted for vested political interest possibly to deflect attraction from the repeated scams of Congress and its leaders possibly to deflect attention from the repeated scams of Congress and its leaders.
Hitting out at Congress for casting aspersions on the NCLT, an independent judicial body, he said nobody can influence the judiciary. “It is unfair that Congress has tried to drag judiciary for its petty politics.”
The Congress had alleged that Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Amending Act, 2017 prohibits a promoter of sick company from submitting bids before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).
It said that despite Shirdi Industries Ltd being declared ‘sick’, their sister company Asis Industries proceeded to grant an unsecured loan of Rs 1.59 crore in 2015-16 to Intercon Advisors Pvt Ltd, a company owned by Seema Goyal, the wife of the Union Minister.