New Delhi: The Congress, CPI-M and the AAP on Sunday sought an inquiry into allegations by a news website that the turnover of a company linked to Jay Shah, son of BJP chief Amit Shah, increased 16,000 times after the BJP came to power at the Centre in 2014.
The BJP rubbished the allegations and Jay Shah issued a statement saying the article carried by the website 'The Wire' had made "false, derogatory and defamatory imputations" against him.
Jay Shah said his businesses were fully legitimate and he had decided to "prosecute the author, editor and owner of the aforesaid news website for criminal defamation and sue them for an amount of Rs. 100 crore".
He said the article creates an impression "that my business owes its success to my father Sri Amit Bhai Shah's political position".
Congress leader Kapil Sibal said at a press conference in the afternoon that information obtained from the Registrar of Companies had revealed that Temple Enterprises Pvt Ltd, a company in which Jay Shah was a Director and which had a turnover of just Rs 50,000 in 2014-15, suddenly saw a spike of 16,000 times in its turnover in a year.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Ashutosh also held a press conference and made similar allegations, saying the fortunes of Amit Shah's son rose after the BJP came to power and he became the party chief. The AAP demanded a probe into the matter.
Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury said in a tweet: "Serious corruption charges against BJP President's son need investigation. BJP Presidents eg Advani, Laxman had resigned on lesser charges."
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi also hit out at the Modi government. "We finally found the only beneficiary of Demonetisation. It's not the RBI, the poor or the farmers. It's the Shah-in-Shah of Demo. Jai Amit," he said in a tweet.
Sibal said at the media briefing that Temple Enterprises had recorded losses in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 of Rs 6,230 and Rs 1,724, respectively, but showed a profit of about Rs 18,000 in 2014-15. The following year (2015-16), its turnover jumped to a whopping Rs 80 crore, he said.
The change in fortunes of the company came after it received an unsecured loan of Rs 15.78 crore from KIFS Financial Services owned by a relative of a BJP Rajya Sabha member, Sibal claimed.
The Congress leader also alleged that Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency, a PSU under Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, had given a loan of Rs 10. 25 crore to Kusum Finserv, a limited liability partnership or LLP, in which Jay Shah had a 60 per cent stake, even though this company had no prior experience of operating in the power sector.
"We are only saying that pradhan sevak should probe because this is excellent example of crony capitalism."
The BJP fielded Railway Minsiter Piyush Goyal to counter the allegations that he termed as "malicious and defamatory".
"The article through malicious imputations is trying to damage the reputation of our leader Amit Shah " he said.
He termed Congress' allegations as "old Congress style".
Clarifying about the dealings of Jay Shah's companies, Goyal said Shah carries out "fully legitimate and lawful business".
On the sudden spiking in Temple Enterprise's turnover to Rs 80 crore, Goyal said that the firm was dealing in agri-commodities in which there is "high volume and high value but low profit margin".
"So even if you do just a few transactions, the volume becomes very high. Rs 80 crore is not a large turnover in commodity business," he said.
On loans taken from KIFS Financial Services owned by Rajesh Khandwala, Goyal said that normally banks do not extend loans to new and small companies and hence the loan was taken from registered NBFC KIFS on "commercial rates and commercial considerations" and has been repaid with interest.
He said that the Kalupur Commercial Cooperative Bank did not give a loan of Rs 25 crore to Kusum Finserve but gave only a Letter of Credit (LC) on security.
"In addition, 10 per cent cash margin was given and apart from that property of Amit Shah and office premises of Kusum Finserve were also mortgaged for this LC facility," Goyal said.
On the loan given by IREDA, he said it is engaged in commercial lending to promote renewable energy in the country" and has "already given more than 2,000 loans and sanctioned over Rs 50,000 crore."
"This is malicious and deplorable effort to try and attribute motives. We thoroughly reject all these baseless allegations."
Jay Shah in his statement said that the "highly slanted" article had damaged his reputation and law suits will be filed at Ahmedabad, where he stayed.
"My businesses are fully legitimate and conducted in a lawful manner on commercial lines which is reflected in my tax records and are through banking transactions. I had taken loans either from NBFC or Non Funded Credit Finance Facilities from Cooperative Banks on purely commercial terms strictly in accordance with the law."
Sibal later countered Goyal and asked if it was right for him as a minister to defend Jay Shah.
"Why is Piyush Goyal, being a minister, defending Shah? He can defend the government. Does he (Goyal) keep talking to Jay Shah. Is there so much closeness?"
He also countered Goyal over his charges on the Dhingra commission report that probed land deals of Congress presdent Sonia Gandhis's son-in-law and said it was BJP-ruled Haryana Government which did not want to put the report in the public domain.
Sibal said the party had not said anything malicious and was only seeking information on Jay Shah's deals.
He also said that details should be given of goods and equipment "hypothecated against the loan".