Congress targets BJP over ‘loan’ to ‘for profit’ firm

New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) The Congress on Friday accused the BJP of loaning Rs.25 lakh to what it said was a “for profit public limited company” in Mumbai and sought a clarification from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on the issue.

The party also sought the resignation of Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde alleging “blatant conflict of interest” on some issues concerning him.

Addressing a press conference here, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said the Shree Multimedia Vision Limited (SMVL), a ‘for profit public limited company’, publishes Mumbai Tarun Bharat newspaper from the Bharatiya Janata Party office in Mumbai’s Chembur.

He said that the annual return of SMVL for 2012-13 reflects a loan of Rs.25 lakh from the BJP.

Surjewala said the return also showed a loan of Rs.20 lakh from “Keshav Kunj” and added that the RSS headquarters in Delhi was known by the same name. He said another loan of Rs.20 lakh was from Bhartiya Darshan Vichar Trust.

The Congress leader said that Jaitley, in an article written in December last year, had alleged violation of the Income Tax act in the National Herald case through a loan of Rs.90 crore from donations collected by the Congress.

He now asked if Modi and Jaitley will now explain as to whether a loan to ‘for profit’ public limited companies by political parties does not violate the provisions of the Income Tax Act and other laws and was it “appropriate” for a political party to hire out its office for commercial purposes.

He said the BJP had stated that the loan was not returned by the Mumbai Tarun Bharat as the company was out of business.

Surjewala said that Tawde was a SMVL director and had “business association” with Dilip Karambelkar who, he said, was the editor of Mumbai Tarun Bharat.

He claimed that Tawde appointed Karambelkar as the head of Maharashtra State Marathi and Encyclopedia Production Board (MSMEPB), a public office.

Surjewala said the code of conduct for ministers required that a minister must sever all connections with the conduct and management of any business in which he was interested before his appointment, but Tawde continues as SMVL director as per the latest documents available with the corporate affairs Ministry, and is also director of four other companies.

“In the light of blatant conflict of interest, can he continue in his office?” he said, adding that the prime minister and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis need to answer on the matter.

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