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Smriti Irani’s kin invested in firm whose GST ‘place of business’ is where cafe is

The property is owned by Goan locals Anthony D’Gama (who passed away in May 2021) and wife Merlyn D’Gama; the liquor licence was issued in Anthony D’Gama’s name.

Union Minister Smriti Irani outside Parliament in New Delhi. (Express file photo)

AS the Delhi High Court affirmed Monday, Union Minister Smriti Irani’s daughter Zoish Irani neither owns the land on which Silly Souls Goa Café and Bar stands nor did she apply for a liquor licence as the Congress alleged. In fact, the property is owned by Goan locals Anthony D’Gama (who passed away in May 2021) and wife Merlyn D’Gama; the liquor licence was issued in Anthony D’Gama’s name. Their son Dean D’Gama had the licence renewed.

However, Silly Souls Goa Café and Bar has a link to Irani’s family including her daughter through a set of financial transactions, according to official records investigated by The Indian Express.

These records show that daughter Zoish Irani; son Zohr Irani; husband Zubin Irani and his daughter Shanelle Irani own two companies Ugraya Mercantile Pvt Ltd and Ugraya Agro Farms Pvt Ltd.

In 2020-21, both these firms invested in a third, Eightall Food and Beverages LLP. Eightall was incorporated in December 2020. As per GSTIN records, Eightall mentions its “principal place of business” as: H No 452, Ground Floor, Bouta Waddo, Assagao, North Goa, Goa.

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This is also the address of Silly Souls Goa Café and Bar.

Smriti Irani is not a shareholder in any of these companies.

According to filings with the Registrar of Companies, on November 5, 2020, Ugraya Mercantile and Ugraya Agro resolved to invest up to 50 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively, of the total capital of Eightall.

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As of March 31, 2021, the latest available data with RoC, Ugraya Agro and Ugraya Mercantile each had the same set of shareholders with similar holdings: Zubin Irani (67 per cent), daughters Shanelle Irani and Zoish Irani (11 per cent each) and son Zohr Irani (11 per cent).

Documents filed by Eightall with the RoC for the year ending March 31, 2021, show that Ugraya Mercantile and Ugraya Agro did provide 50 per cent and 25 per cent to the initial capital of Eightall.

As per the latest records filed with the RoC, Eightall’s balance 25 per cent capital came from Taronish Hospitality (20 per cent) and Geeta Vajani (5 per cent). Geeta’s husband Yogesh Vajani is one of the directors in Taronish Hospitality.

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Ugraya Mercantile and Ugraya Agro also gave short-term loans of Rs 20 lakh and Rs 10 lakh respectively to Eightall.

Asked about his restaurant’s address being the same as the principal place of business for Eightall, owner of the café Dean D’Gama told The Indian Express: “Please talk to my lawyer about it.”

His lawyer Benny Nazareth said: “I am representing the D’Gamas as the owners of this particular property (Silly Souls Café). They have got a valid excise license and we have been issued a show-cause notice and we have replied to it. That’s all. I have no mandate from the client to discuss anything beyond that.”

Questions to Zubin Irani (majority shareholder in Ugraya Agro Farms and Ugraya Mercantile) on the investment and its matching address with Silly Souls Goa Café and Bar, went unanswered.

Responding to allegations by the Congress last Sunday, Zoish’s lawyer Kirat Singh Nagra had said she “has no control or oversight into the management and affairs of the eatery” – and her interaction was “limited” to an internship.

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On Monday, asked about the same address and the resolution by companies in which Zoish is shareholder, he told The Indian Express: “Firstly, the issue is sub judice. Secondly, we would not like to say anything about the restaurant or anything relating to the matter, directly or indirectly.”

When The Indian Express visited the registered office address of Eightall in Palghar, it was the premises of Yogesh K Vajani and Co Chartered Accountants, the accounting firm for Eightall.

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When asked about the relationship between Eightall and Silly Souls Goa Cafe and Bar, Yogesh Vajani, said he would “not entertain questions on this matter.”

In the year ending March 31, 2021, Eightall posted revenue from sales amounting to Rs 22.73 lakh and a loss of Rs 3.06 lakh.

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While it was incorporated on December 31, 2020, the company’s financial records show it paid Rs 2,72,500 in rent from January to March 2021 and had an alcohol inventory of Rs 3,35,500.

(With inputs from Jayprakash S Naidu in Mumbai)

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First published on: 02-08-2022 at 04:50:17 am
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