Branding Modi government as a government which promotes crony capitalism, former union Minister and senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh demanded RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat's close associate Vaibhav Dange’s resignation over alleged corruption and misuse of public funds. Vaibhav Dange is personal secretary (PS) to the transport minister Nitin Gadkari and owns a non-profit company Indian Federation of Green Energy.
In a press conference on Friday, Jairam Ramesh revealed that monetary favours have been granted to Dange’s company - Indian Federation of Green Energy (IFGE) by state and central governments.
First reported by The Hindu, the case shows a clear instance of crony capitalism prevalent in the present BJP ruled government, said Ramesh.
Jairam Ramesh also demanded clarification from Gadkari and alleged that the minister was aware of the corruption and diversion/misuse of public funds.
Vaibhav Dange happens to be an active RSS worker besides being PS to the transport minister. Both Nitin Gadkari and another BJP minister Suresh Prabhu are the members of National executive of IFGE.
Vaibha Dange was appointed personal secretary to the transport minister on August 8, 2014. He established Indian Federation of Green Energy in October, 2014 along with Motiram Kisanrao Patil, a resident of Chalisgaon, Maharashtra. Both held 50 per cent shares each. The entity is a Section 8 company, which is meant to operate not for profit.
Dange comes from RSS cadre and was ‘Sangathan Mantri’ in ABVP Maharashtra from 1996 to 1999. The Congress claims, his proximity to RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat is well-known.
Vaibhav Dange was asked by The Hindu if he has violated Rule 12 of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, which says: “No Government servant shall, except with the previous sanction of the Government or of the prescribed authority, ask for or accept contributions to, or otherwise associate himself with the raising of, any funds or other collections in cash or in kind in pursuance of any object whatsoever.” But Dange categorically denied violating any such rule in writing.
The documents of the Registrar of the Companies, National Capital Region say otherwise. One of the balance sheets is also clearly signed by Vaibhav Dange as the director of IFGE.
IFGE balance sheet clearly shows that it has taken funds from either government departments or state-owned entities. Vaibhav Dange has told The Hindu that Gadkari’s transport ministry had not allotted any funds to IFGE. But the company’s website shows various events like Global Bamboo Summit organised in partnership with the Public Sector Units under Gadkari’s ministry. Even on Friday, IFGE is organising an event ‘Ethanol as a transport fuel’, in partnership with Centre Institute of Road Transport under ministry of Transport at Pune.
IFGE started with a capital of ₹1 lakh in 2014 and in 2016, its capital was worth ₹1,6199, 731. Its office at Tolstoy Marg, Delhi is owned by Ravi Boratkar who is a member of national executive of IFGE. Incidentally Ravi Boratkar is also a director of Purti Power and Sugar limited, a company owned by Gadkari’s family.
The Congress leader Jairam Ramesh raised the following questions and demanded a clarification from Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari’s in this case: