New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday that only ‘the perverted Rahul Gandhi school of thinking’ can call investment by financial institutions in IL&FS a ‘scam’ and suggested that the Congress President should take some ‘words of wisdom’ from a senior party colleague.
He also termed the Congress as a “national saboteur” trying to spread disinformation about the developments in debt-ridden IL&FS. Jaitley in a Facebook post titled ‘Lessons for Rahul Gandhi from his partyman’ said that it must be remembered that the days of crony capitalism are over and the NDA government deals with challenges objectively and professionally. The minister wanted to know whether investment by financial institutions in a company is a scam as has been spread by Gandhi and his coterie.
“Was it a scam in 1987 when the IL&FS was promoted with the Central Bank of India having 50.5 per cent shares and the UTI having 30.5 per cent shares? Was it a scam in 2005 when LIC acquired 15 per cent stake in IL&FS and in March, 2006 when it acquired another 11.10 per cent stake in the IL&FS? In fact, LIC further bought 19.34 lakh shares in IL&FS in 2010. Do I start calling all these investments today ‘a scam’ as per ‘the perverted Rahul Gandhi school of thinking?’ From where has he invented a proposal of Rs 91,000 crores investment likely to take place by LIC and SBI in the IL&FS?” Jaitley quipped.
He asked Gandhi to read a letter written by senior Congress leader K V Thomas on September 20, 2018, who suggested to the government to “support IL&FS” as the company has shown notable achievements in the past in the area of infrastructure development. Along with the Facebook post, the minister also attached a letter written by Thomas. “It (the letter) demolishes every word that Rahul Gandhi and his coterie has been spreading. It may be advisable for Rahul Gandhi to get some ‘words of wisdom’ from Prof. K V Thomas,” Jaitley wrote.
Gandhi on Sunday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the alleged financial support of LIC to debt-ridden IL&FS and asked whether the prime minister “loves financial scams”. “Modi ji, your favourite private company IL&FS is about to turn bankrupt. You are trying to save it by putting the money of LIC. Why?… Why are you using LIC money to save fraudsters. For you, hope IL&FS does not mean I love financial scams,” Gandhi had said in a series of tweet. The Congress Party, Jaitley said, for the last few days, has been busy spreading disinformation about the government’s possible moves in relation to the private sector company IL&FS.
“The Congress is a national saboteur. It wants to sabotage India’s economy by allowing a situation in relation to a company to persist, expand and become unmanageable. It lacks statesmanship and vision,” Jaitley said. As on March 31, 2018, Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and ORIX Corporation Japan were the largest shareholders in IL&FS with 25.34 per cent and 23.54 per cent stake respectively. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), HDFC, Cental Bank of India and SBI hold 12.56 per cent, 9.02 per cent, 7.67 per cent and 6.42 per cent, respectively.
IL&FS has defaulted on payment of loans to SIDBI and along with its subsidiaries has a combined debt of over Rs 91,000 crore. There were concerns that default by a large NBFC like IL&FS would create liquidity crunch in the financial markets. The minister said a section of the Congress leadership has been urging him to enable investments in the IL&FS and save the company. The government Monday approached NCLT to supersede the board of IL&FS arguing that its financial woes were on account of “mismanagement” and policy paralysis prior to 2014. NCLT has constituted a new 6 member board headed by Kotak Mahindra Bank MD &CEO Uday Kotak.