The Congress sharpened its attack on Union Minister for Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal over alleged non-disclosure of his alleged business dealings to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). However, the Bharatiya Janata Party claimed that Goyal had "stopped all professional/ business activities the day he became a minister, resigned from all directorships and started the process of selling all his investments". The daily had alleged that Goyal sold the entire stock of a privately-held company he and his wife owned, at almost 1,000 times its face value, to billionaire Ajay Piramal.
Calling it a classical replication of "Jaishah Model" of business profit, Khera said that post the sale to Piramal Estates in September 2014, FISIL's name was changed to Aasan Info Solutions Private Limited which, in 2017, posted Rs 14.78 core losses.
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"Piramal Group has a long track record of acquiring businesses that complement, scale up or grow our existing business offerings and also constantly evaluates any new opportunities to grow in new space", the company said in a statement. "Although Goyal declared his assets, he conveniently concealed the fact that he and his wife were directors in FISIL", said Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera. 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. "How then will the PM act against this Minister, caught red handed, misusing his power for 48 Cr. of personal gain?" he tweeted with the hashtag "GoyalMustResign". "This was based on an independent chartered accountant valuation".
"In September 2014, after four months into holding the Power and Renewable Energy portfolio in the Union Cabinet, Goyal sold the entire stock of Flashnet Info Solutions (India) Limited at a premium of 1,000 per cent to a group company of Piramal Estates Private Limited", he alleged. The party alleged that it had become the Opposition party's modus operandi to gain "cheap publicity" with incorrect allegations. "Is esorting to manufacturing controversies using malicious falsehoods which are completely baseless", the BJP claimed.
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"The allegation that this transaction was done for undue benefit to the Piramal Group, is totally baseless and devoid of any merit", it said. "The falsehoods spread by Congress reflect the desperation since they have nothing to attack the Modi Government by", the BJP said in a statement rejecting Congress charges leveled against him, last month.
The BJP said the date cited by the Congress of the sale of a firm, Flashnet, in which Goyal had ownership, was also incorrect as it took place in July 2014 before the declaration of assets and liabilities by the ministers in the Modi government was submitted on July 25, 2014 and not on September 29, as alleged by the opposition party.
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"It seems that Piyush Goyal who had a successful investment banking career before he became a minister, is being targeted, because perhaps the Congress wishes to divert attention from the series of scandals of its leaders for which they have no answers".