The Congress on Saturday demanded the sacking of Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, after The Wire published a story raising questions about his conflict of interest. The daily had alleged that Goyal sold the entire stock of a privately-held company he and his wife owned, at nearly 1,000 times its face value, to billionaire Ajay Piramal.
The sale of Flashnet Info Solutions Private Limited was completed after Goyal became a minister in the Narendra Modi-led government, the daily said.
Congress leader Pawan Khera said that Goyal had sold his company four months after he became a minister in 2014, PTI reported. 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 ruling party attacked the Congress, calling its claims “malicious” and intended “to gain cheap political mileage”. It asserted that Goyal had sold his firm’s shares in July 2014, before he declared his assets and liabilities, and not on September 29, 2014, as the Congress alleged. The BJP’s claim about sale of shares was backed up by the Piramal Group in a statement.
However, the All India Congress Committee then issued a press release with “documentary evidence” that Goyal had sold off 27,010 shares of Flashnet Info Solutions Private Ltd on September 29, 2014.
The Congress also attacked the BJP over its April 4 press release which said that Goyal had no role in Shirdi Industries after 2010. The Opposition party said the saffron party’s media release on Saturday admitted that Goyal had sold off some shares in the firm in December 2013, contradicting its earlier assertion that he had no role in Shirdi Industries after 2010.
“It is now clear that peddling lies, faking truth, weaving a web of deception is the DNA of
the BJP and its leaders,” the Congress said. “The position of Piyush Goyal stands compromised making him unfit to continue as a Cabinet minister even for a day.” The party said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should sack the minister, or it would be “proved that the prime minister was in full knowledge of and had given consent to the gross impropriety and conflict of interest of his favourite minister”.