The Justice M B Shah Commission has rejected Congress’ allegation that former Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi had entered into a “clandestine understanding” with Tata Motors over setting up the company’s Nano car manufacturing plant at Sanand in the state.
The Commission, whose report was tabled in the state Assembly last week looked into the allegations against Modi, which mostly pertained to allotment of land for major industrial and infrastructure projects, including nine cases related to Tata Nano plant, Adani Group’s Mundra Port and SEZ, and Larsen and Toubro.
In their memorandum to then President Pratibha Patil in 2011, state Congress leaders had alleged that Tata Motors received undue concessions to the tune of Rs 33,000 crore out of the “secret understanding between Modi and the company.”
The Congress leaders had also alleged that former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia had played a major role in this project, which was shifted to Gujarat from West Bengal in 2008.
“The said project was proposed to be established initially at Singur in West Bengal, which was later shifted to Gujarat after a clandestine understanding with Tata Motors Ltd and the then Chief Minister of Gujarat,” Congress’ allegation in the Commission report stated.
“It is stated that the whole project was negotiated by Ms Neera (sic) Radia,” it added.
However, convinced by the detailed reply filed by the state government over the Tata Nano project, the Shah panel said it was difficult to accept the points raised by Congress leaders.
The observation was made by the Commission in its report, which runs into almost 5,000 pages.
“It will be difficult to accept the contention that there was a clandestine understanding between Tata Motors Ltd (TML) and the CM of Gujarat. The whole project was negotiated with TML by different secretaries of various departments,” the report said.
“It is true that Tata Motors Ltd was invited to establish the project in Gujarat. Other states were keen to establish the said project in their states, particularly Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. However, Gujarat got the deal,” the report said.
Besides this, the Commission has also not found any substance in almost all the allegations of corruption levelled by the Congress against Modi.
Giving a clean chit to the then Modi government for allotting land for the Tata Nano project, the Commission said the government did not break any rules.
“Public interest, particularly for the state of Gujarat, was a paramount consideration for inviting Tata to establish Nano project and an automotive hub in the state of Gujarat. The said policy decision was taken in conformity with the Central government policy of establishing automotive industry,” the report said.
Congress leaders, including Shaktisinh Gohil and Arjun Modhvaida, had submitted a memorandum to the then President in July 2011, listing 17 allegations of corruption against Modi.
Modi had set up the panel under retired Supreme Court judge M B Shah in August 2011 to enquire into 15 out of 17 allegations, as remaining two were sub-judice.