New delhi: Accusing Union minister Piyush Goyal of “impropriety and conflict of interest” due to his alleged links with private firm Shirdi Industries, the Congress today demanded his “immediate sacking” and a probe by a sitting Supreme Court judge into the issue. Addressing a press conference, Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Veerappa Moily and Pawan Khera also questioned the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on the matter. They alleged that Goyal was chairman and whole-time director of Shirdi Industries from April 25, 2008 to July 1, 2010 during which the company took a loan of Rs 258.62 crore from a consortium of banks headed by Union Bank of India.
Goyal later resigned from the company’s board and the company was subsequently declared sick due to its inability to repay loans. However, after the Modi dispensation assumed power at the Centre, 65 per cent of the outstanding loan amount of Rs 651.87 crore was “shockingly” waived by the consortium of banks without any objections, Azad said. Moily claimed that Asis Industries, a sister concern of Shirdi Industries, granted an unsecured loan of Rs 1.59 crore in 2015-16 to Intercon Advisors, a company owned by Piyush Goyal’s wife Seema Goyal.
Incidentally, Goyal was also director of the company from September 15, 2005 till July 22, 2013. “Is it not a clear case of conflict of interest and impropriety on the part of Union minister Piyush Goyal? Why did Shirdi Industries through its sister concern Asis Industries extend an unsecured loan of Rs 1.59 crore to the minister’s wife Seema Goyal’s company? Why did Piyush Goyal not declare this loan in his public filing on PMO website?” Azad asked.
“Serious and scandalous facts warrant a thorough independent judicial investigation by a sitting Supreme Court judge. It has made the position of union minister Piyush Goyal untenable to serve as cabinet minister. Piyush Goyal must be sacked forthwith,” he said.