When The Wire’s report The Golden Touch of Jay Amit Shah came out yesterday it was our Shillong Sunday snooze time. When we woke up and tried reading it, we got lost in the numbers. The report read more like a careful CA writing than some ‘incendiary’ take down. We filed it away for it’s boredom value.
Then BJP came out all trishul blazing. It deputed Piyush Goyal, a cabinet minister to make a Venture Capitalist defence of Jay Amit Shah’s start up acumen. Then the CTRL-C & CTRL-V tweet rate workers of Saffron sweatshop made their appearance with their Hashtag FAKENEWS Hashtag PORNWEWATCH Hashtag AMITSHAHONDIET HashtagDEENDAYALUPADHYAYA.
If Piyush Goyal was the 100 crore signal – ASG Tushar Mehta was the charge of the fight brigade. On 6th October, two days before The Wire published its blockbuster investigation into the fortunes of Jay Amit Shah, son of BJP President, additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta had already sought permission from the Law Ministry to privately appear for Jay Amit Shah in an unspecified legal battle. Apart from the propriety of a State functionary abandoning his cloak of objectivity and independence for private interest, it is also weird to think that Mr. Tushar Mehta knew the ‘defamatory’ content of the report before the article was even published.
So what is there in the Golden Touch of Jay Amit Shah that BJP is breathing so heavily? Maheshwer Peri, former president and publisher of the Outlook group and founder of Careers360 magazine, in a facebook status locates the questions which the report raises.
I read The Wire’s story and Jay Amit Shah’s response. The story is factual, based on the annual reports filed with ROC. The story doesn’t make any allegations or imputations. It quotes the responses of the lawyer of Jay Amit Shah extensively. It also puts up their entire response. All It does is a mere extrapolation based on the numbers in the ROC filings. And in a country where public scrutiny of individuals who rule us is minimal, It does raise important questions:
– What is the commodity business that Jay Amit Shah was into? Is it indeed agri products?
– A company is incorporated in 2004, starts operations in 2015, clocks a turnover of 80 crores and closes down! This is how shell companies operate. This throws up more questions than answers!
– Of the 80 crores turnover, 51 crores is from foreign earnings. With credits, duty draw backs on export earnings, This stinks.
– The loans include an unsecured loan of Rs 15.78 crore from a firm with a Reliance connection.
– Another 25 crore non-fund based loan from a cooperative bank with a Nirma connection.
– The security and collaterals for each of the 3 loans smell of crony capitalism. Try getting a loan if Rs.5 lacs without a security?
– Is it proper for Jay Amit Shah to take a loan from a Reliance/Nirma associated entity? Or a PSU?
– Is it so easy to get a project evaluated by IREDA, a PSU under Piyush Goel, and a 10.35 crores loan sanctioned and disbursed. Can some one tell us when they were applied, the process and when they were disbursed.
– Would IREDA sanction a loan to a person who doesn’t have any experience in wind energy?
– Why are cabinet ministers and BJP Spokespersons defending the transactions of a private individual?
– Amit Shah’s press release has a personal diatribe against Rohini’s competency. He says “Perhaps this is why The Economic Times did not have faith in Singh”. However, it is her story against Vadra that brought BJP to power.
The 100 crore defamation cases are meant to bully, silence and muzzle media. They have a chilling affect on any other media organisation that dares to further investigate the story. They are also meant for public consumption to fool people. A big defamation case makes you look true. If you look back into history of high stake defamation cases, only one case against Arnab Goswami and TOI reached a decree stage. In the case against The Wire, nothing would come out. Such high stake cases were routinely filed or notices sent by:
– Anil Ambani.
– Shiv Sena
– NSE filed a 100 crore against Sucheta Dalal and later apologised.
– Arindam Choudhury filed a 100 crore case against me in Kamrup, Assam which he withdrew 6 years later when I approached the Supreme Court.
I have seen many defamation cases to say that in a fair trial, this case wouldn’t go anywhere. It is bluster to fool people. In a fair investigation, there are too many smelly, stinky details that Amit Shah will want buried forever. This case will not be followed up after the noise dies down. And that is where it will be, in court records, in stinky cabinets, even after we die.