NCP accuses Maharashtra tourism minister of conflict of interest

The NCP alleged that minister Jaykumar Rawal had stakes in two ‘shell’ companies that were deregistered by the Centre as part of its crackdown on black money

mumbai Updated: Feb 08, 2018 01:16 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Tourism minister Jaykumar Rawal denies allegations.(Hindustan Times)

Accusing Maharashtra tourism minister Jaykumar Rawal of conflict of interest, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Wednesday alleged that he had stakes in two ‘shell’ companies that were deregistered by the Centre as part of its crackdown on black money.

Rawal denied that he had any links with the two companies: Toranmal Hill Resorts Private Limited (THRPL) and Toranmal Development Private Limited (TDPL). 

NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik accused THRPL of not paying lease rent to the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) for occupying a hill resort for 15 years in Nandurbar, around 450km north of Mumbai.

Documents reveal that despite being the state tourism minister, Rawal represented THRPL over its dispute with the MTDC in a meeting held by minister of state (MoS) for tourism Ram Shinde on May 21, 2015. In his capacity as the state tourism minister, Rawal is the ex-officio chairman of MTDC. He admitted that he had represented THRPL as an MLA, not as minister. A 7/12 extract of 1.84-hectare land bought by Rawal in 2000 also says that he is the director o f the firm.

Nawab Malik claimed that the tourism minister owns four Director Identification Numbers (DIN). The corporate laws make it illegal to have multiple DINs.

Rawal’s family owns THRPL and he was the director before he became the tourism minister, Malik alleged. Malik said Rawal has abused his official position by representing the firm despite being a cabinet minister.

He also accused the minister for illegally occupying the MTDC resort in Nandurbar for years through THRPL despite an eviction order by the resident deputy collector on May 13, 2011. The NCP spokesperson said Toranmal Hill Resort was given to THRPL on lease in 1996. THRPL has not paid lease rent to the MTDC for 15 years and instead sought Rs3 lakh, claiming that it had spent Rs60 lakh on the resort.

The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court directed THRPL to deposit Rs16 lakh. To resolve the dispute over the remaining Rs41 lakh, a meeting was held by MoS Ram Shinde in 2015.

The NCP spokesperson demanded Rawal’s resignation for conflict of interest and an investigation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for running a de-registered firm. “Rawal doesn’t deserve to be in his official position and should resign immediately. We will send all these documents to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for action. We will file a case against him with the state Lokayukta and local police station,” Malik said.

“I am unaware as how my name was mentioned as the director of THRPL in the land record. I have asked my officials to investigate. I am also not aware of the four DINs. Let the NCP spokesperson come out with other documents to prove that I was the director of THRPL,” Rawal said. He admitted that his father was a partner in the firm and resigned from the post in 2000. In September last year, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government deregistered 2.09 lakh firms, including THRPL and TDPL.

First Published: Feb 08, 2018 01:16 IST