The present government at the centre came to power with a promise that there will be no compromise against corruption. As a result, it became a matter of great discomfort when an article appeared in a web portal, The Wire.in, suggesting son of party president had benefitted after BJP government came to power at the centre in 2014.
Among several points raised by the article, the following are the key :
- In 2013 , the company Temple Enterprise, recorded a loss of Rs 6,230;
- In 2014, the company reported a loss of Rs 1,724;
- In 2015, company showed a profit of Rs 18,728 on revenues of Rs 50,000;
- In 2016, the firm’s revenues jumped to over Rs 80.5 crore, a growth of 16 lakh percent;
- Reserves and surplus turned negative to Rs 80.2 lakh from Rs 19 lakh the previous year;
- Trade payables were Rs 2.65 crore, up from Rs 5,618 the previous year;
- Short-term loans and advances were Rs 4.14 crore, up from Rs 10,000 the year before;
- Similarities were drawn between the present case and another case involving son in law, Mr. Robert Vadra, of president of congress party;
As expected, opposition parties smelled blood. More so, keeping in mind upcoming Gujarat state assembly election. It was demanded that BJP president step down from his position. Prime Minister must explain and initiate an enquiry. It is expected that upcoming winter session of parliament will very likely be occupied with this issue.
Whether government will initiate an enquiry or not, it is for government to decide. The article appears to be erroneous and/or deliberately misleading on many facts related to financial health of the company in 2015 -16. A closer reading of the article indicates that while
- revenue (total sale) of the company increased significantly in 2015 – 16;
- profit (sale – expenses incurred) did not increase. In fact;
- company reported a loss of 1.7 crore in the financial year 2015 – 16;
- company owed money to its creditors;
- company was closed an down.
The author had also tried to draw a parallel between the present case with that of land acquisition case of Mr. Robert Vadra. Alleged, key highlights of the case included the following:
- Haryana government had made an alteration to change of land use law, such that Skylight Hospitality of Mr. Vadra could acquired an agricultural land;
- In a public sector bank, Mr. Vadra’s company had an account balance of 1 lac rupees. Yet, it could secure an overdraft of 7 crore. This amount was issued in the form of a cheque to pay land owner;
- Actual fund was transferred to land owner, only when land developer paid the amount to Skylight Hospitality. Money transfer was contingent upon alteration in, change land use rule, courtesy Haryana government;
- Skylight Hospitality sold the land to DLF for 58 crore;
- An official of Haryana government, Mr. Ashok Khemka, had claimed illegality in the transaction and cancelled change of land ownership in the name of Skylight Hospitality.
In the present case, till this time, there is no alleged government complicity, there is no complainant, no involvement of any public sector bank. According to information in public domain, loan was obtained from a Non Banking Financial Company. Normally, such organisations charge high interest rate. Loan was taken by mortgaging personal property. Loan was repaid back.
From the overall reading it appears that the author has misrepresented facts, either out of ignorance (unlikely) or to create an innuendo of possible corruption. In view of impending sate assembly election and alacrity with which opposition jumped on the fray, such a possibility does not appear to be unfounded. It is only fair that son of BJP president has taken the matter to court. Many people have argued that such an action is an attempt to muzzle free speech. The Wire.in has refused to be bowed down in front of bullying tactics by government. It must be remembered that few years earlier, Mr. M. K. Venu, one of the editors of the web portal, himself had adopted similar tactics and had sued a magazine. So what is sauce for gander, must be good for goose.