Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s son Dushyant Singh, who represents Jhalawar-Baran constituency in Lok Sabha, made no mention of his company Niyant Heritage Hotels Pvt Ltd or the crores of rupees it received in unsecured loans from Lalit Modi’s company Ananda Heritage Hotels Pvt Ltd in his affidavit for the 2009 elections.
While Dushyant had set up Niyant Hotels in 2005, he claimed in his election affidavit four years later that he did not own any commercial establishment or property. Neither did he list — under liabilities — the Rs 3.80 crore loan his company received from Modi’s firm.
Meanwhile, records with the central government, accessed by The Indian Express, reveal that Niyant Heritage Hotels had failed to file its annual return and balance sheets the year it entered into a multi-crore deal with Lalit Modi’s Ananda Hotels.
The firm and its two directors — Dushyant Singh and his wife Niharika Singh — were listed as defaulters by the Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs. The duo were also listed in separate lists — comprising details of defaulting companies and directors — put out by the ministry on its website earlier this year.
This was the same year that Lalit Modi’s Ananda Heritage Hotels Pvt Ltd (AHHPL) purchased shares worth Rs 4.03 crore from NHHPL — 420 shares of face value Rs 10 purchased for Rs 96,190 each.
The Enforcement Directorate is probing the deal between the companies of Dushyant and Modi — a transaction of Rs 11 crore, made in three parts via diversion of unsecured loans and purchase of shares at extremely inflated prices.
Interestingly, the affidavit filed by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje before the 2013 assembly elections shows that she owned 3,280 shares in Niyant Heritage Hotels.
In his 2014 affidavit, while Dushyant stated that he, along with his wife and business partner Niharika, owned shares in Niyant hotels, he did not list any commercial properties acquired/owned by the company.
This demolishes the BJP’s main line of argument in Dushyant’s defence: that the various heritage properties owned by his company had spiked the value of its shares exponentially — from a meagre Rs 10 to Rs 96,200, the price at which Lalit Modi’s AHHPL purchased 815 shares in Niyant.
Last week, BJP state chief Ashok Parnami had defended Dushyant and his deal with Modi, saying the assets owned by Niyant hotels were invaluable and so the astronomical price offered by Modi for each share was not abnormal.
However, in his poll affidavit last year, Dushyant put the value of these shares at Rs 10 and did not list the Dholpur palace as property owned either by him, or his company Niyant hotels. In the affidavit, the Dholpur City Palace-valued at Rs 15 crore-is stated as owned by his family, under the Hindu Undivided Family column.
When asked about it, Parnami said he had not seen the election affidavit. “I have not seen what he has written in his affidavits. I only know that he has declared his shareholding in Niyant hotels publicly,” he told The Indian Express.
While Dushyant is abroad and could not be reached despite repeated attempts, Health Minister Rajendra Rathore declined to comment. He, however, admitted that Vasundhara Raje held shares in Niyant hotels.
“It is a private, family owned enterprise. What is the big deal if she owns shares,” he said.
When asked about the ministry listing, Parnami said it must be an erroneous entry. “No, the returns were filed and even the assessment was done. The ministry listing must be incorrect,” he told The Indian Express.