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Congress’ charge of impropriety against Union minister Piyush Goyal baseless: BJP

The Congress accused Piyush Goyal of impropriety for allegedly selling shares in a privately held company at nearly 1,000 times the face value to a company owned by Ajay Piramal, with interests in the energy sector, a portfolio held by the minister earlier.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2018 22:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress,Piyush Goyal,Bharatiya Janata Party
BJP said Union minister Piyush Goyal had stopped all his professional and business activities when he became minister and started the process of selling all his investments.(Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday termed allegations of impropriety made by the Congress against Union minister Piyush Goyal as ‘baseless’ and ‘malicious’ and part of a ‘political hit job’ against the minister.

The Congress had accused Union minister Piyush Goyal of impropriety for allegedly selling shares in a privately held company, Flashnet Info Solutions (India) Pvt Ltd, at nearly 1,000 times the face value to a company owned by Ajay Piramal, with interests in the energy sector, a portfolio held by the minister earlier. The transaction, party spokesperson Pawan Khera said, took place four months after Goyal became a minister, and he had failed to inform the Prime Minister’s Office about it.

The BJP said Goyal had stopped all his professional and business activities when he became minister and started the process of selling all his investments. It said the sale of Flashnet shares took place before the declaration of assets and liabilities was submitted on July 25, 2014. “This sale was made at full market value as per third party, independent, expert valuation and the entire sale value was received in the bank before submitting the declaration and was fully reflected in the value of assets submitted,” the BJP said in a statement.

In a statement, the Piramal Group said Piramal Estates Pvt Ltd (PEPL) purchased Flashnet in July 2014. “The purchase consideration paid was the fair value of the underlying investments (movable and immovable assets) and the same was paid in July, 2014 itself. This was based on an independent chartered accountant valuation.” The group said the nature of its business ‘did not involve’ any ‘direct or indirect interaction’ with the ministry of power or any of its agencies since the Piramal Group was purely in the business of lending to companies (including to those in infrastructure). “Further, Piramal Group has not invested in any entity in the power sector till date. Therefore, purchase of Flashnet from Mr. Piyush Goyal by PEPL, does not in any way benefit the existing businesses of the Piramal Group.”

Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “It’s no secret that CA Piyush Goyal, the BJP treasurer, has pried open the doors of every major corporate house for PM Modi. How then will PM act against his own minister, caught red handed, misusing his power for 48 cr. of personal gain?”

The BJP said the facts showed absolutely ‘no wrongdoing or irregularity’.

First Published: Apr 28, 2018 22:47 IST