Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Kumar Balyan’s office on Tuesday sent emails to a couple of venture capital firms requesting them for an appointment to discuss the issue of raising funds to enable his “niece” Monika Balyan launch an app “A Start-up Company”.
The email, sent by Sumit Arora from the “Office of Hon’ble Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (Dr Sanjeev Kumar Balyan)” via his official email account, said, “I am desired to seek an appointment for Ms. Monika Balyan (Niece of Hon’ble MoS Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India) for discussing the issue of raising funds with concerned officer of your esteemed company in order to enable her to launch an App ‘A Start-up Company’. I shall be grateful if you could spare sometime for the said appointment from your busy schedule. A date and time of the meeting may kindly be sent by revert mail.”
When contacted, Arora confirmed he sent the mail. “I sent the mail on instruction. There seems to be a communication gap. I should not have sent it. It is a mistake.”
Balyan said he was not in Delhi for the last three days. “I was in Jaipur, Haryana, and have returned only now,” he told The Indian Express late Tuesday evening. He said many people line up at his home with some request or the other. “I know Monika Balyan, and her father too, very well. But she is not my niece. She is not related to me,” he said.
The minister said he had not instructed his office to send such a letter, nor did he know about it. “I spoke to Sumit now. He said Monika Balyan claimed she was my niece and requested such a letter be sent to help her raise funds for her app. He sent it without my knowledge. It’s his mistake. If I have to help someone, I would rather call and request. I realise these things can go completely wrong. I have asked him to send a mail to these companies tomorrow asking them to ignore the earlier mail.”
A mail sent to Monika Balyan did not elicit a response until late Tuesday night.