Rahul Gandhi's Apology Sought For "Shirdi" Dig At Piyush Goyal

Chairman of the Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Suresh Haware has demanded Rahul Gandhi's apology

New Delhi:  Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday slammed Railway Minister Piyush Goyal over a "haircut loan waiver of 65 per cent" to a company, Shirdi Industries Limited, associated with the minister in the past, and said "there is no limit of "Shirdi's miracles".

However, Chairman of the Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Suresh Haware, took umbrage at his remarks and said "to drag Shirdi in a political blame game is very painful" and demanded his apology.

"Friends - there is no limit of 'Shirdi's miracles'. #PiyushGhotalaReturns," tweeted Mr Gandhi attaching a news report.

The Congress on Tuesday said Mr Goyal must be sacked and a judicial probe ordered by a Supreme Court judge into charges that a company owned by his wife earned a profit of Rs 30 crore on a paid-up capital of Rs 1 lakh in 10 years.

Reacting to Mr Gandhi's tweet, Mr Haware said: "Rahulji, to drag Shirdi in a political blame game is very painful. The Sai bhakts in the country and abroad have been deeply hurt by this. On behalf of all Sai bhakts, we condemn this. You should apologise to Sai Bhakts for this insult."

Reacting to this Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala clarified: "Rahul Gandhi holds the 'Shirdi Trust' and 'Sai Baba' as also every saint in great reverence.

"Unfortunately, the name of the company affiliated to Piyush Goel is 'Shirdi Industries Ltd.' I wish Shirdi Trust will now in hindsight take action and ban such people from using the name 'Shirdi' who use such pious name and then consequently malign by swindling away public money," he added.

"I completely agree with his spirit and so does Rahul Gandhi, and the entire Congress party but the attribution was to Shirdi Industries Ltd and not to the 'Trust' or 'Sai Baba' in any fashion," Mr Surjewala also said.

He further said: "We can't even imagine that or think of that. I think this question or should be directed at Piyush Goel and his friends who are actually maligning such pious and holy name by swindling public money. Using such pious name is something that should also be part of self-regulation in this country."

"I hope that 'Shirdi Trust' will take up this matter both with SEBI as also with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and with the Prime Minister to consider to delete the name 'Shirdi' from every 'public limited' or 'private limited' companies, which they cannot use and then misuse by swindling money," Mr Surjewala added.

The Congress had alleged "impropriety" and "conflict of interest" on the part of Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, saying a company associated with him in the past was given a "haircut" loan waiver of 65 per cent on the outstanding loan amount of over Rs 650 crore.

Mr Goyal was chairman and full-time director of Shirdi Industries Ltd from April 25, 2008 to July 1, 2010, the party had said.