Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Home Fact-Check How National Herald distorted facts to attack Piyush Goyal

How National Herald distorted facts to attack Piyush Goyal

The National Herald newspaper which is deeply embroiled  (along with its owners Sonia and Rahul Gandhi) in an alleged scam has done it again. In November last year, National Herald was relaunched by Rahul Gandhi, albeit in a digital avatar. And it appears it has restarted its activities of furthering Congress propaganda and other half truths. Earlier this year, we had exposed how the site had falsely claimed that money from PM’s Relief Fund went to Adani to build a hospital in Gujarat.

Now, following on the falsehoods of thewire.in, National Herald has tried to pick up the baton. In an article, claims that Power Minister Piyush Goyal handed out undue favours to Jay Amit Shah’s company, Kusum Finserve. It claims that the loan given by Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), a PSU under Goyal, had “flouted all rules and norms”.

We had given a detailed explanation regarding the loan in question. The terms and conditions of availing loans from IREDA clearly mentioned that any private entity in India can apply for a loan. The mission of IREDA is to promote, develop and extend financial assistance for renewable energy and energy efficiency/ conservation projects. It has sanctioned around Rs around Rs 37,000 crore of credit for clean energy projects so far and further Rs 28,000 crore to developers, which aids generation capacity of around 7,000 MW. It plans to sanction around Rs 13,000 crores this financial year. Hence, a Rs 10.35 crore loan was not out of order.

Further, Jay Amit Shah in his reply to thewire itself, had mentioned that the loan from IREDA was being repaid in time, and the outstanding amount as on 30.6.2017 had come down to Rs 8.52 crores due to its repayment.

Now the National Herald has tried to find some new “irregularity”. It claims as below:

So the allegation is that IREDA can fund projects of only upto 1 Megawatt, whereas Jay Shah’s company had a 2.1 Megawatt plant. To prove this, they use a screenshot from the IREDA website, which says the same. Here is a screenshot of the same portion, sourced from the IREDA site 

Read Q3 and Q4. Q3 talks about the the “Equipment Financing Scheme”. Here it is mentioned that loan can be given for upto 1MW Wind farm projects. This is the regulation which National Herald was referring to. They claim Jay Amit Shah’s company flouted this norm since the project is of 2.1MW. Even while referring to this, they made an error of reproducing the 75% as 70%

Next one can see Q4. This speaks about a “project financing scheme”. Here there is no limit on the capacity of the project. Further, the 70% cap is mentioned here, and not in Q3. Thus, a borrower can get a loan under this  “project financing scheme, irrespective of capacity of the project. Thus, there is nothing to stop a financing of 2.1 MW plant

A source in the Power Ministry confirmed that the loan had been taken under the “project financing scheme” and not the “Equipment Financing Scheme”. It appears National Herald has picked up this habit of lying from its owner, Rahul Gandhi. 

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