The article published by ‘The Wire’ about the turnover of a company owned by Jay Amit Bhai Shah, son of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Amit Shah, has sparked political controversies.
Temple Enterprise was incorporated in 2004 with Jay Shah and Jitendra Shah listed as its directors. BJP president Amit Shah’s wife, Sonal Shah, also has a stake in the company. According to Shah’s RoC filings, Temple Enterprise engaged in wholesale trade and more than 95% of revenues come from the sale of agricultural products. It was in the business of import and export of agro commodities like rapeseed DOC, castor DOC meal, desi Chana, soybean, coriander seeds, rice, wheat, maize etc.
The firm’s balance sheets and annual reports obtained from the RoC has unveiled that in the financial years ending March 2013 and 2014, Shah’s Temple Enterprise Private Ltd. engaged in the negligible activity and recorded losses of Rs 6,230 and Rs 1,724 respectively. In 2014-15, it showed a profit of Rs 18,728 on revenues of only Rs 50,000 before jumping to a turnover of Rs 80.5 crore in 2015-16. The company has recorded a gigantic increase in the turnover by 16000 times over in the year following the election of Narendra Modi as prime minister and the preferment of his father to the post of party president.
This flabbergasting escalation in the company’s revenues came when the firm received an unsecured loan of Rs 15.78 crore from a financial services firm owned by Rajesh Khandwala, the in-law of Parimal Nathwani, a Rajya Sabha MP and top executive of Reliance Industries. However a year later the firm stopped its business activities altogether, declaring, in its director’s report, that Temple’s net worth had “fully eroded” because of the loss of Rs 1.4 crore in that year and in the other preceding years.
What seems to be a little misleading is that the firm, whose revenues jumped from just Rs 50,000 to over Rs 80 crore in a single year (FY 2015-16) stopped its business activities completely last year.
Also based on the filings with the Registrar of Companies, the portal claimed that another company, Kusum Finserve, where Mr. Jay Shah is a partner with a 60 % stake, got a loan from a bank against a collateral of ₹7 crore. To this, the railway minister, Piyush Goyal said that the amount of ₹25 crore was not a loan but a non-funded letter of credit.
Goyal added that “We reject the allegations, and the confidence in our way of work is reflected from the fact that Jay Shah is proceeding to file a civil and criminal defamation.”
While replying to The Wire‘s questions on behalf of his client, Jay Shah’s lawyer warned that any story on Jay Shah’s business dealings could have adverse legal consequences. Jay Shah has claimed that he was not involved in any wrongdoing and that the article published by The Wire was not only derogatory but also made false and defamatory imputations against him by creating an impression that his business owed its ‘success’ to his father, Shri Amitbhai Shah’s political position. He further stated that his business was legitimate and was conducted in a lawful manner on commercial lines, which is reflected in his tax records, and through banking transactions. Jay Shah has asserted that he would have The Wire prosecuted for 100 crores for defamation.
While The Senior party leader and union minister Piyush Goyal is strongly defending Jay Shah, Congress and AAP have on the other hand demanded a CBI enquiry into the accusations made by the website in its report. Rahul Gandhi, Congress Vice-President took to Twitter to imply that the controversy suggests that the Shah(s) have looted the country and that instead of serving as the country’s watchman or chowkidar against corruption, as promised, the PM has proved to be a “bhaagidaar” or “partner in crime.”
The article has incited a political blame game amongst the parties. Questions have been raised to the Prime Minister by other political parties if he would direct the CBI to probe into the matter and ED to arrest these people!