A businessman who gave loans to Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife allegedly in return for favours to his firm also gave Rs 1.99 crore as interest-free,unsecured loans to a company owned by the son and daughter of the Congress CM Maple Destinations and Dreambuild Pvt Ltd.
BJP leader Arun Jaitley has accused Virbhadra of granting an extension to Venture Energy and Technology,promoted by Vakamulla Chandrasekhar,for executing a hydel project in the state soon after coming to power in 2012 as quid pro quo for a Rs 1.5 crore-loan to Virbhadras wife Pratibha and a Rs 2.4 crore-loan to Virbhadra.
The project contract given to the firm in 2002 had been cancelled in 2004 for delay in execution but had got four extensions before the Virbhadra government gave it a fifth one. Jaitley has also alleged that Pratibha and her two children had become shareholders in a group company of Chandrasekhar.
Filings with the Registrar of Companies (RoC) accessed by The Indian Express show that Virbhadras son Vikramaditya Singh and daughter Aprajita Kumari,own 95 per cent and 5 per cent respectively of Maple.
The company was started in 2011 and its balance sheets for 2011-12 and 2012-13 show that Chandrasekhar and his Tarini Sugar and Distillaries Ltd had given Rs 49.99 lakh and Rs 1.5 crore respectively as loans to Maple.
The spokesman for Virbhadra refused to comment when reached by The Indian Express.
Chandrasekhar denied any wrongdoing in the controversy and defended his transactions with Virbhadra and his family as legitimate business links. But he did not refer to the loans given to Maple.
In his letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,Jaitley had alleged that Pratibha Singh got an unsecured loan from Chandrasekhars Tarini Infrastructure. He also alleged that Pratibha,Vikramaditya,Aprajita and Virbhadras officer on special duty A P Singh are shareholders in Tarini Infrastructure,a claim that is confirmed by RoC filings.
Maples registered address is Farm 3E,Dera Mandi,an upscale farm house area in Delhi. The company is planning to build hotels,resorts & hospitality business in Himachal Pradesh. The company is also planning to do real estate activity in NCR regions in a smaller way, Maple has said in the financial and operational prospects in its annual return.
Maples assets include land which is valued at Rs 1.28 crore. This valuation of the land and its unsecured loans total to Rs 3.28 crore. However,Maple does not reveal the source of the Rs 1.28 crore. The annual return also says that Maple has taken unsecured loans from only two sources.
The filing of Tarini Sugar and Distillaries,which is a subsidiary of Tarini International,shows that funds for the interest-free,unsecured loans it gave Maple came from related parties. This implies that Tarini Sugar and Distillaries could have acted as a conduit to transfer money to Maple.
Incidentally,Tarini International was taken to the Debt Recovery Tribunal in 2011-12 for failing to repay Rs 28.2 crore loans it took from financial institutions.
A 46-year-old mechanical engineer from Andhra Pradesh,Chandrasekhar is said to have known Virbhadra for the last 18 years.
He said Virbhadra needed money to repair his dilapidated palace in Rampur but banks had refused to give him a loan as he was over 65 years of age.
As far as loans to Virbhadraji is concerned,I have given it out of my personal account in cheques in 2010 and 2011 when he was not in HP or even a minister in the government of India. It is my sole discretion as to what I do with my personal,hard-earned money,to lend it or put it in business or even squander it, Chandrasekhar told The Indian Express.
Chandrasekhar also defended the equity given to Virbhadras family in his companies.
Tarini infrastructure has no business in HP whatsoever. Being a public limited company it has many many shareholders. As per the Companies Act,1956,anybody who is a citizen of India is free to invest in equities of public limited companies. As far as Vikramaditya,Aprajita and Pratibhajis allotments are concerned,their allotment is in order as per Section 81 (1A) of the Companies Act,1956. Their total holding put together is less than one per cent. The shares were subscribed in financial year 2009 and allotted in financial year 2010-11, Chandrasekhar said.