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In Focus

October, 11

Will Mr. Modi explain his stand on 'Shah-zada'?

In response to the recent exposure of Jay Amit Shah’s questionable business dealings, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi tweeted “Modi Ji, jai shah-zada has usurped quite a lot. Were you a 'chowkidar' or an accomplice? It is time to speak up.” This dig at Mr. Modi comes as a response to the regular jeer that Modi and the BJP use for Mr. Gandhi, calling him “Khoobsurat Shehzada”. However, contrary to the toothless and tawdry catcalling of Mr. Modi, Mr. Gandhi’s message is ba concrete reporting and factual logistics of the crooked business dealings of BJP President Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah. Sadly, the same brave reportage which exposed the crooked practices of Jay Amit Shah is now being suppressed by the financial and political bullying of his father and the BJP.

Amidst one of the most worrying economic slowdowns in the country in recent times, Junior Shah's company, Temple Enterprises Private Limited, has seen an increase in annual turnover by nearly 16,000 times since Mr. Modi took office. Not just that, there has also been a dramatic surge in the number of loans received by the company post the BJP came to power. As per an NDTV report building on the initial probe by The Wire, by 2013-14, two of Mr. Shah's companies that are at the heart of The Wire report showed loans of Rs. 1.3 crore. By the next year, that figure rose to Rs. 53.4 crore, a jump of 4,000%.

Temple Enterprises, despite having a historically unimpressive record, showing only a surplus of Rs. 18.8 lakh in 2014, even after 10 years in operation. It received Rs. 15.76 crore in 2015 as an unsecured loan from KIFS Financial Services, a non-banking finance company (NBFC). Similar is the story of Kusum Finserve, incorporated by Mr. Shah in 2012. In its first year posted a loss of Rs. 36,500, and a modest profit of Rs. 1.73 crore in 2014. Yet, it received a line of credit of Rs. 25 crores from Kalupur Commercial Cooperative Bank, Ahmedabad.

While BJP has tried to justify the increased revenues with matching expenditures and logistical tricks to adjust the books, no justification could explain the meteoric growth of revenue or the public service loans that were received by Junior Shah's company. It is time Mr. Modi took a long, hard look at his own party's “Dynasty” and its “Shah-Zadas”, before calling others names.

While his administration is tasked to clean out black money, they perhaps forgot that charity starts at home. One of the most vocal Prime Ministers of India, Mr. Modi, who certainly loves to speak, has surprisingly decided to stay quiet in this whole debate. Seeing the recent brewings, one cannot help but wonder, whether Mr. Modi is really a protector as he claims to be or another partner in this crony enterprise.

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