Home Fact-Check Gun for hire, 'The Wire' misfires, targets Piyush Goyal again with falsities and lies

Gun for hire, ‘The Wire’ misfires, targets Piyush Goyal again with falsities and lies

The leftist propaganda website, ‘The Wire’, seems to have developed a penchant for hitjobs, done with blatant lies, half-truths, and concocted stories. Today, they are back with another hitjob that targets Union Minister Piyush Goyal. Earlier this week, we had predicted that a hit job against Goyal was in the pipeline about his professional and business activities before he became a cabinet minister. Once again, we were right.

What is interesting is that The Wire is back to attacking Piyush Goyal after Congress took the mantle from them. Congress had come up with a press conference that entirely focused on business activities of Piyush Goyal, trying to insinuate wrongdoings almost in The Wire-style. The press conference followed after the first hitjob by The Wire was largely ignored by the mainstream media after it was comprehensively busted by us.

Perhaps the Congress party thought that instead of outsourcing the job, they should do it themselves. However, the party in a way ended up giving away the hint that their allegations were weak because, in their own documents that they shared in the press conference, it was clearly mentioned that Piyush Goyal and his wife had resigned from all such companies before he became the cabinet minister. This was done to maintain highest standards of ethics and avoid any conflict of interest, which actually displayed good conduct on the part of the Minister.

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Coming to the latest hit job by The Wire, the premise of this new falsehood stands on wafer-thin ice. Rohini Singh, the author of this fantastical story alleges that the Prime Minister’s office was kept in the dark about Piyush Goyal selling his shares in a privately held company Flashnet.

The story by ‘The Wire’ falsely alleges that the sale of shares took place in September 2014. Documents accessed by us tell a different tale altogether. We have found out that the sale took place prior to the declaration dated 25th July 2014 and the entire sale price was also received by Piyush Goyal in his bank before this date.

We spoke to a CA and he confirmed that if the shares were already sold and the amount received before the declaration then it obviously can’t contain the value of shares since it would be a double accounting. The CA also confirmed that when a company is valued, the “Fair Market Value” needs to be worked out, and for that, all assets and liabilities must be considered at market value, and not at book value. He also opined that typically, land and building book value (i.e. the cost of acquisition) is much lower than the market price. The same can happen in case of shares held as an investment.

BJP spokesperson confirmed that the “sale was made at full market value as per third party, independent, expert valuation.”

The report also tries to cast aspersions on the valuation of the company. It relies on the net worth of the company as declared in the 2015 filings. But Singh “forgets” to account for one aspect: Net worth in financial statements and in company filings is shown at book value i.e. at cost of acquisition. Land, Building, Property, Investment in shares, all are always recorded at cost in a company’s balance sheet, and as per prudential accounting norms, unrealised gains due to increase in market value are never recorded in the books of accounts.

However, when a company is sold, its real value needs to be determined, which entails taking into account the market value of all such assets. We have found that the valuation of the company was done by an independent, third-party expert who valued the assets at fair market value.

Thus, Rohini’s innuendo that a company whose net worth was just Rs 10 cr was sold for around Rs 48 cr does not hold ground because Rs 10 cr is the book value, whereas Rs 48 Cr is arrived at after considering market values, and is based on a valuation by an expert, not a journalist who was fired from her job for not doing her job right.

The Wire also insinuated conflict of interest because Piramal is a “billionaire with substantial interests in the infrastructure sector including power”. The fact is, Piramal indeed doesn’t appear to be directly in power sector. Their NBFC arm regularly lends to all sectors. This can’t be called being a billionaire with stakes in the power sector and hence, their conflict of interest theory also doesn’t hold water.

So essentially, it does seem that a professional like Piyush Goyal, who had a successful investment banking career before he became a minister has still not learnt the art of living without working which many Congressmen inspired by Rahul Gandhi have learned to do. It seems Piyush Goyal is being maligned and targeted because Congress believes that everyone in politics should be like Rahul Gandhi without ever having done serious work for a living.

The Congress supported by The Wire and Rohini Singh have adopted the same strategy for all their hit jobs. Make assertions based on lies. Selectively quote the truth. Word the allegations carefully to avoid culpability. And attempt to link financials of a future date much after the Minister has left the company, to show some sort of impropriety that never existed.

Perhaps ‘The Wire’ should try delving into facts rather than being political hit men.

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