NSEL case: Rahul, Priyanka rented out property to Jignesh Shah firm in 2013

Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had rented out their 4.69-acre farmhouse in Delhi to Jignesh Shah's firm Financial Technologies (India) Ltd (FTIL) in 2013 at a monthly rent of Rs 6,70,000 when the then Congress-led UPA government was probing a case of alleged market irregularities involving FTIL-promoted National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL), The Indian Express report said.

The rent agreement between FTIL and Rahul and Priyanka, is dated February 1, 2013, almost 10 months after NSEL received a show-cause notice for alleged violation of norms. 

Shah has been facing CBI probes in various cases. Earlier in March this year, the CBI has registered a fresh case against former Multi Commodity of India Ltd (MCX) MD Jignesh Shah for allegedly facilitating nationwide exchange status for the MCX, according to reports.

Jignesh Shah-promoted FTIL signed an 11-month lease agreement to rent Indira Gandhi Farm House in Mehrauli at a monthly rent of Rs 6,70,000.

FTIL also gave an “interest free deposit of Rs 40,20,000 vide two separate cheques of Rs 20,10,000 lakh”, respectively to Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi. The company wanted to use the farmhouse as a guesthouse for its guests and officers, according to the lease agreement.

The NSEL scam became public in July 2013 and the agreement was ended in October 2013, two months before the lease would have expired on December 31, 2013.

Both FTIL and the Congress said that this was a routine business transaction.

The Congress said the UPA at the Centre and the Cong-NCP government in Maharashtra had, in fact, taken “decisive civil and criminal action” against FTIL, Shah and other entities associated with him. These included Shah’s arrest.

On November 29, the Enforcement Directorate wrote to FTIL (now called 63 Moons Technologies Ltd) seeking details of its agreement with the Gandhis, The report said.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, however, said that the farm was an ancestral property purchased in the 1960s and for several years, it was rented out.

“In the same process, Indira Gandhi Farm was rented out for 8 months and 22 days i.e. 1 February, 2013 to 22nd October, 2013 to FTIL. The entire rent received from the tenancy was disclosed in the income tax returns and income tax was paid in accordance with the law. During the period of tenancy, one Mrs. & Mr. Khairnar occupied the property.

“There was no question of any association or relationship or any intervention having been made by Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in any ongoing proceedings either against FTIL or Jignesh Shah or any other person or entity related to them,” Surjewala said.

He added that “facing imminent defeat in the election going States, overall rejection of PM’s leadership and policies as also complete failure to tackle the all round distress on various fronts of economy — agriculture — jobs has pushed Modiji to seek to divert people’s attention by running such smear campaigns.” And using the Income Tax Department and the ED as “revenge tools” to execute a “hatchet job”.

An official spokesperson for 63 Moons Technologies said was done in the ''normal course of business."

“A premises was rented by 63 Moons Technologies (formerly known as FTIL) on 1st February 2013 through an official lease agreement at a monthly rent of Rs 6,20,000 and refundable deposit of approximately Rs 40 lakh, with due approval from its board. This was done in the normal course of business like most other corporates do and was for the purpose of stay of company officials and its representatives and it was used so. The said premises was vacated on October 23, 2013 and the security deposit was duly refunded back to us.”

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel