New Delhi: Terming the article of news website The Wire as “malicious and defamatory”, Minister of Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal on Sunday said that the younger son of Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah Jay Shah would file a Rs 100 crore civil and criminal defamation lawsuit against the author of the story and the editors and owners of news website The Wire.
The news article raised questions on the transactions made by firms owned by Jay Shah.
Union Minister Piyush Goyal, briefing the media on the matter, said all the transactions and loans obtained by Jay Shah’s firms — Temple Enterprises Pvt Ltd and Kusum Finserve — were done in a transparent manner and the loans were paid back with interest.
“The article through malicious imputations is trying to damage the reputation of our leader Amit Shah. Jay Shah has decided to file criminal and civil defamation suit against the author, editors and the owner of news website The Wire for Rs 100 crore for defamation,” Goyal said.
Goyal also rubbished the allegations levelled by the Congress saying it was “old Congress style”.
“I wish the Congress would also come clean and if at all they have nothing to hide, not go to court to try and stop Justice Dhingra Commission report that deals with the truth about the dealings of the Gandhi family,” he said.
The Dhingra Commisison was set up by the Haryana government after BJP came to power in the state, to look into alleged irregularities in land dealings by Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra.
Clarifying about the dealings of Jay Shah’s companies, Goyal said Shah carries out “fully legitimate and lawful business” on commercial lines which is reflected in his “account books and in his income tax returns” and added that all transaction are through banks.
“I don’t think there is any bar in this country on taking a loan from banks or NBFC (Non-banking finance companies). And all the loans have been taken strictly in accordance with law on commercial rates of interest, securities have been provided. The loans taken from the NBFC have been fully repaid with interest,” he said.
He said that Jay Shah gave full details of all his transactions and “answered every question in detail” put up by The Wire reporter as “he has nothing to hide”.
Of 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 Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Renewable Energy, giving a loan of Rs 10.35 crore to Kusum Finserve for building a 2.1 MW windmill in Madhya Pradesh’s Ratlam, Goyal said that “IREDA 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 to various customers across the country.”
“This is malicious and deplorable effort to try and attribute motives. We thoroughly reject all these baseless allegations and the confidence of Jay Shah’s business is reflected in the fact that he immediately decided to go for defamation suit,” he said.
A report, written by Rohini Singh in ‘The Wire’, details the growth of Jay Shah’s company, Temple Enterprise Private Ltd, from revenues of Rs 50,000 in 2014-15 to Rs 80.5 crore in 2015-16.