| Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi meets visitors at his janata durbar in Patna on Tuesday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi on Tuesday alleged that RJD Rajya Sabha member Premchand Gupta was involved in financial wrongdoings with the assets of his company, which had been indicted by the CAG over coal block allocation.
While demanding a thorough probe, the BJP leader also released documents to support his allegation.
Gupta, who hails from Haryana, surfaced in the 1990s as a close confidant of RJD chief Lalu Prasad and has been nominated by the party to the Rajya Sabha thrice. During UPA-I, Lalu Prasad got him into the cabinet as the Union minister of state for corporate affairs.
In the recent CAG report, Gupta’s name surfaced as IST & Power Limited was given coal block at Dahegoan, Makarbhokra in Nagpur, on June 17, 2009. The coal block was jointly allocated to IST Steel & Power Limited, a company in the name of Gupta’s sons, Gujarat Ambuja and Lafarge India. However, the better-known Gujarat Ambuja and Lafarge India were allotted 36 million tonnes (MT) and 25 MT, respectively. The lion’s share of 132 MT went to IST Steel & Power Limited. Modi distributed documents related to listing of IST Steel & Power Limited in Mumbai and Honk Kong stock exchanges.
“The papers of Bombay Stock Exchange show that 49% shares of IST Steel and Power Limited is owned by Gupta International Investment Co. Ltd, a Hong Kong-based company. Gupta is director of this company,” Modi said. He added that Gupta Investment International Co Ltd has the MP’s Hong Kong residential address, Ground floor, 65, Wyndham Street, with his Hong Kong identity card number — XD 005190(5).
RJD chief Lalu Prasad said he was aware that Gupta had a company in Hong Kong for the last 40 years. But he termed the charges against his close aide “false”.
“I know Modi for many years. He is spreading false information against Gupta,” Lalu said, refusing to reply to specific charges against the former Union minister.
Modi also alleged that foreign money had been pumped into Gupta Investment International Co. Limited in the name of Cecil Corporation Limited, which held 1,20,800 shares of the Gupta company.