Leftist fake news portal The Wire is at it again, with its ‘ace’ journalist Rohini Singh coming up with an article that alleges some serious conflict of interest regarding Railway Minister Piyush Goyal back when he was the Power Minister. Earlier, another hitjob was conducted on Piyush Goyal by the same website. This fake news website is notorious for spewing venom against BJP politicians, and is currently facing a defamation suit for lying about BJP President Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah. The website is run by Siddharth Vardarajan, whose wife’s Maoist leanings are quite well known.
We will refute the article comprehensively (if it deserves our time and attention), but upon first glance it seems to have been written by an utterly confused journalist. The entire basis on which the journalist rests her case, that there might have been a conflict of interest because of the position held by Piyush Goyal at the time, seems flawed. The reporter says this because Goyal was heading the Power Ministry, and according to her, Ajay Piramal is a billionaire with substantial interests in infrastructure and power.
To begin with, Piramal is known as a pharma honcho and also runs an NBFC, a company with massive funds which lends money to several companies for various projects. In a sense, he became their banker. In the process, he might have lent money to companies belonging to various sectors. This does not mean that he had any interest in those sectors. He is simply, like any other bank, into the money business.
Surprisingly, we see that one of the links provided in The Wire’s article itself, explains this. The level of fact checking, and how one of your own sources puts a death knell to the arguments you make, is hilarious. The following lines are found in the article:
“We are not infrastructure developers. We are financial investors. Infrastructure projects require long-term funding. We have a pool of capital. Our objective is to look at infrastructure financing over the long term and the alliance with APG will help,” said Jayesh Desai, co-head, structured investments, of the Piramal group.
If one stretches this argument, one could also argue that Piyush Goyal’s personal dealings with his bank are a matter of conflicting interests, since his bank also deals with companies and people associated with the power sector. Frankly, this argument is as asinine as it can get. But desperate times clearly call for desperate measures.
The Wire, which comes across as a mere extension of the opposition itself, seems to have outdone itself yet again with its latest bit of fake news. It is mentioned at the beginning of the piece that Ajay Piramal has substantial interests in infrastructure and power, and the contents of this piece are based on that assumption. Apart from expressing interest in taking over LANCO (a company plagued by NPAs run by a former Congress MP), which turned out to be unsuccessful, Piramal has not been associated with power or infrastructure in any way. He might have been a banker to several companies in various sectors, but then again, using that to perpetuate the conflict of interest theory is a sign that the journalist has gotten her basics wrong.
Websites like The Wire come across as being all about propaganda. They come across as being tools that the opposition can use to further their agenda. Fortunately, nobody takes these websites seriously at all.