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In Focus

October, 12

Jay Amit Shah: The mythical "Private Citizen"

The recent expose of questionable financial assistance made available to a firm run by BJP president Amit Shah's son is the latest damning allegation to hit the Narendra Modi-led government. So much so, that even the RSS, the BJP's ideological mentor, has been compelled to tread carefully on the matter. Instead of outrightly rejecting the allegations, RSS joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale said: "If there are corruption allegations against anyone, they should be investigated. But there has to be prima facie evidence of wrong-doing."

In the aftermath of the expose, there are more questions tumbling out regarding the questionable association between the government and a so-called private citizen Jay Amit Shah. In a follow-up report, The Wire reveals that even before the investigation was aired last Sunday, the Union law ministry had granted additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta the permission to represent Jay Shah. The permission, granted on October 6, two days before the investigation was carried, shows how the ministry knew beforehand such an investigation was soon going to be aired. There was no other way that the permission would have come well in advance. It also means that the government was aware of the allegations against Shah's company, and was probably just sitting on it all this while.

Not just this, this collusion between a central ministry and a private citizen is in counter with the law ministry's own rules, says the report. Besides, other questions remain unanswered. In the aftermath of the expose and the simultaneous outrage on social media, a rattled BJP put together a response, articulated by none other than Railways Minister Piyush Goyal. Why was a cabinet minister defending a private individual? Further, Piyush Goyal was Minister of New and Renewable Energy (Independent Charge) when the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency’s (IREDA) granted a Rs 10.35 crore loan to Jay Shah's company. Whither conflict of interest?

Given the above, the fig leaf of differentiation between a "private individual" and the government has been blown to smithereens. This is crony capitalism at its most arrogant form. What is even worse is the silence the self-proclaimed "chowkidar" continues to maintain silence on the matter, offering just banalities and more mind-numbing rhetoric.

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