New Delhi: BJP president Amit Shah was forced to beat a hasty retreat from a much hyped roadshow in Kannur to defend himself on another front. The Gujarati politician was worried about a planned news report about the phenomenal growth of his son’s assets since Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014.
The Wire, an online news portal, reported that Jay Shah’s company reported an increase of 16,000 times in annual turnover in 2015-16. Before publishing the story, the portal sent a detailed questionnaire to the businessman to gather his version of the phenomenal rise.
The junior Shah immediately called up his father to preempt any damage arising from the report. The BJP president, in the midst of a high-voltage standoff against the CPM in Kerala, left abruptly to New Delhi, much to the chagrin of his cadre in the state and to the amusement of Internet trolls.
He met Modi as well as finance ministers Arun Jaitley, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and railway minister Piyush Goyal to chart the future course of action. Prasad let Shah seek legal counsel from additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta.
Goyal, who is a chartered accountant, was instructed to peruse the company records to defend the father and son. All he could do was to claim that there was nothing illegal in Shah’s rise but he was left without any answers when asked if the businessman had tapped his political patronage.
Goyal said it was not fair to compare Shah’s case with that of Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. He said that Vadra received ample support from the Congress government in Haryana to strike a deal with real estate major DLF.
He said it was natural for young ventures to record a phenomenal rise after years of initial struggling.
He even advised the media to look into the foreign jaunts of some political scions without any income, taking a snipe against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
Jay Shah on Monday sued The Wire for defamation.
Shah has enough friends in the party as of now. Modi is unlikely to abandon his Man Friday despite his chest thumping against corruption and nepotism. Even last month, he told BJP workers that he did not have any favorites when it comes to corruption.
Shah may be spared the fate of his predecessor Nitin Gadkari, who had to quit in the wake of allegations related to his business venture Purti. Senior leaders L. K. Advani, Yashwant Sinha and Ram Jathmalani who led the campaign to oust Gadkari, have been effectively sidelined in the party.