Like Humpty-Dumpty in The Alice In Wonderland, the self-avowed ultra-left campaign website, which is viscerally anti-BJP, can give a completely new meaning to words. When the other day it screamed through the aegis of a self-proclaimed investigative reporter ‘the golden touch of Jay Amit Shah’, you would not have been wrong if you were to assume, as most people did, that the BJP President’s son had raked in big bucks thanks to the patronage of his powerful father.
But the truth is that despite its not-so-veiled effort to establish equivalence between Robert Vadra, the crooked son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi, and Jayesh Shah, the much-hyped report fails to offer a shred of evidence.
The report is a case of malice aforethought, an attempt to foist a predetermined conclusion on the basis of flimsy evidence. For, in the year Jayesh is supposed to have been blessed with the so-called golden touch, he actually lost money.
On the other hand, Vadra had made a killing. He acquired a piece of agriculture land and had it converted overnight into commercial, courtesy the Congress Government in Haryana, and walked away with an unearned profit of over Rs.50 crores without spending, literally, a penny of his own. Now, where is the link, even remotely, in what the showy reporter herself claims Jayesh did to what Vadra had pulled off in double-quick-time to enrich himself beyond his wildest dreams? Maybe the website will wire the readers of this inscrutable linkage, that is, in case it is able to locate one first.
Notably, the said report was eagerly broadcast and amplified further by a TV channel whose promoters themselves stand accused of laundering crores of black money into white, and whose most prominent anchor now is the vernacular counterpart of Arnab Goswami, albeit on the other side of the political spectrum.
However, a moment’s reflection about the ‘facts’ would have helped knock the bottom from under the so-called investigative report. But when you are driven by `mission journalism’ to wipe out those who you call communal forces, concerns about such mundane matters as logic and facts become secondary.
Referring to a company of Jayesh Shah, the report, inter alia, says, “ company balance sheet and annual reports obtained from the Registrar of Companies reveal that in the financial years ending March 2013 and 2014, Shah’s Temple Enterprise Pvt. Ltd., engaged in negligible activity and recorded losses of Rs 6,230 and Rs 1,724 respectively. In 2014-15, it showed a profit of Rs. 18,728 on revenues of only Rs. 50,000 before jumping to a turnover of Rs. 80.5 crores in 2015-16.”
But where it exposes its hand is in ignoring the all-important fact that despite the surge in the turnover the company actually incurred a loss of Rs. 1.5 crores. Yes, a loss of Rs. 1.5 crores. If in the ultra-left business circles suffering a loss is considered ‘golden touch,’ we do plead ignorance. But we believe the world over when you do business you do it to earn money, not to lose it.
Unless, of course, you are a campaign website and can always tap corporate patrons and once in a while, pleading hard-up times, or feigning a potential threat from the ‘fascist forces,’ crowd- fund your ever- expanding operations. It is, however, remarkable that a much better resourced website whose promoter had enriched himself enormously in his last assignment through means fair and foul, mostly foul, is struggling to make an impact. To its credit, even with half-baked stories like Jayesh Shah’s `golden touch,’ the ultra-left website with pronounced sympathies for the Maoist insurgents has managed to generate some noise in the opposition circles.
Now, consider the cold facts. Jayesh Shah is the only child of Amit and Sonal Shah. After his engineering degree from the much-sought Nirma University, he was all set to go to the US for an MBA when the UPA went after his father with all the might at its disposal. Various prosecutions, and persecutions, including in the Sohrabuddin encounter killing, presumably the first and last such case of encounter killing in the country, were launched. As a result, the son abandoned his dream of acquiring an MBA from a prestigious US institution and instead engaged himself fulltime in fending up the relentless onslaught of the UPA to trap Shah by hook or crook.
Though money was not a problem for the Shahs, Amit Shah’s father was a prosperous BSE broker who owned a ticket when it was valued in tens of crores. He inherited a huge portfolio of shares and bonds from both his father and father-in-law. Indeed, the person who is said to have lent money to Jayesh was the family’s long-time friend who manages its vast stock holdings. Keeping those virtually as a guarantee, he wouldn’t bat an eyelid to advance, on interest, of course, a couple of crores to Jayesh when he and a family friend wanted to step up their business after Amit Shah had seen off the threat of persecution by a revengeful UPA.
Note that 2015-16 was the first full financial year, when Jayesh could sleep in peace without fearing any trouble for his father from the vengeful UPA. Does the above make sense to the reporter, now playing the victim card on the website of a kindred television channel in order to milk sympathy from the viewers?
Of course, it would have been foolhardy not to mention that despite the surge in turnover Jayesh suffered a loss of nearly Rs. 1.5 crores. It is mentioned but in passing, in a manner which suggests that the sole objective was to highlight the turnover in order to foist a case of wrong-doing.
The fact is that though he was engaged fitfully in business in the couple of years previously, 2015-16 was the first year when he felt free to devote himself fulltime to make a career for himself now that the prosecution and prison of his father had forced him to abandon higher studies and a career as an engineering/ managerial professional. Despite assistance from a close family friend when the business suffered losses, he gave it up. Incidentally, being a 24x7 BJP President, like Modi who is a 24x7 Prime Minister unlike his predecessor, Shah lives all by himself in Delhi while his wife and son continue to live in Ahmedabad.
The other canard about the loan from IREDA for setting up a modest wind energy project is easily nailed. You don’t have to be a specialist to start such a project. For proof, ask a Congress Party spokesperson who is said to have a huge wind energy farm in Rajasthan though he is not remotely connected to such a business. A private wind energy major not only installs such wind power capacity for you but, what is more, facilitates loans from IREDA which under the official policy, predating the advent of the Modi Sarkar, has disbursed over Rs. 20,000 crores in order to boost the share of clean energy in our thermal-dominant generation. Several former UPA leaders and their relatives are beneficiaries of the policy.
Of course, we can understand the anxiety of the reporter and the website to make a splash. She exposed the Robert Vadra land scam in her previous employment with a financial daily. We wonder why, then, she was ejected out of that paper. But to try and announce one’s return by doing what you claim to be a great expose’ but which actually was a dud, --- in fact, a case of pre-determined conclusions supported by rather thin facts --- is to mock investigative journalism. Opinions and prejudices cannot replace hard facts, can they?
From the social media
When Google chief Sundar Pichai last met the Prime Minister, apparently the conversation went something like this:
Modi: What do Indians most google for?
Pichai: Acchhe Din. Complete silence followed.
(Virendra Kapoor is a senior journalist and columnist. The views expressed here are his own and do not reflect that of Asianet Newsable.)