The Congress on Wednesday demanded Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s sacking alleging “impropriety” and “conflict of interest.” The party alleged that a company associated with him in the past was given a “haircut” loan waiver of 65 percent on the outstanding loan amount of over Rs 650 crore.
Addressing an emergency press conference, three senior party leaders namely Ghulam Nabi Azad, M. Veerapa Moily and party spokesperson Pawan Khera said that “as skeletons on ‘Bank Loot Scams’ keep tumbling out of Modi Government’s cupboard, a damning tale of ‘Conflict of Interest’, ‘Sweetened Deals’, ‘Gross Impropriety’& ‘Bank Loan Defaults’ by Shirdi Industries Ltd, with past and present affiliation to Union Cabinet Minister, Shri Piyush Goyal and his family is out in open.”
The Congress leaders renewed their demand for the reason behind ‘Maun Vrat (silence)’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on the 11 different banking scams amounting to Rs 61,036 crore. This, according to the Congress leaders, was “because the ‘Chowkidaar’ is guarding his own- From ‘Shah-zyaada’ Jay Shah, Shourya Doval, Chhota Modi #1 i.e. Lalit Modi, Vijay Mallya, Chhota Modi #2 i.e Nirav Modi + MehulChoksi, Jatin Mehta & now Shirdi Industries Ltd?”
They said, “Union Cabinet Minister, Piyush Goyal was chairman and ‘whole time director’ of Shirdi Industries Ltd. from 25 April 2008 to 1 July 2010. During this time, Shirdi Industries Ltd. worked out a loan of Rs 258.62 Cr from a consortium of Banks, headed by Union Bank of India.”
The party also produced documents in support of its serious allegations against Goyal for conflict of interests. Azad, for his part, said that Shirdi Industries was declared sick on 8 June, 2015, almost a year after the Modi government came to power.
He said, “Despite Shirdi Industries Ltd (of Rakesh Agarwal and Mukesh Bansal) 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.”
He went on to add, “On 23 November, 2017, The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Amending Act, 2017 came into force. Section 29A of the Act prohibits a promoter from submitting any bids for a company before NCLT. Shirdi Industries Ltd. (of Rakesh Agarwal and Mukesh Bansal) went to NCLT. Outstanding loan amount of consortium of banks was Rs 651.87 Cr. Shockingly, the consortium of banks agreed to take a haircut (waive off) 65% of loan amount and settled for Rs 228.85 Cr. (Rs173.85 Cr to be paid between Dec 2017-March 2022 & Rs 55 Cr to be paid between June, 2022 –March 2024). Surprisingly, no one raised an objection that promoter of Shirdi Industries Ltd i.e Shri Rakesh Agarwal (a close associate and friend of Union Minister, Shri Piyush Goyal) could not have bid in view of prohibition contained in Section 29A of the Insolvency Code.”
According to the Congress leader, the proximity of Goyal to Rakesh Agarwal of Shridi Industries Ltd. can be best understood from the fact that ‘Pradeep Goyal (brother of Shri Piyush Goyal) and Rakesh Agarwal were also directors in another company, Pradeep Metals Ltd.’
“Not only this, Piyush Goyal and his wife Smt. Seema Goyal were directors in another company, Sajal Finance and Investments Pvt. Ltd. from 9.02.2009 to 21.12.2013. They resigned and were succeeded by Gaurav Rakesh Agarwal, son of Rakesh Agarwal and Ameet Mukesh Bansal, son of Mukesh Bansal. The web of corporate entities that ties Shri Piyush Goyal and his family to Shri Rakesh Agarwal/Mukesh Bansal, is thus, glaringly apparent.”
The party said that serious and scandalous facts warrant a thorough independent judicial investigation by a sitting Supreme Court judge’ adding that the revelation had made the position Goyal untenable to serve as Union Cabinet Minister.