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BJP's Poonam Mahajan is wilful defaulter: Congress


IANS Mumbai
In a shocking pre-poll development, the Maharashtra Congress on Saturday alleged that Poonam Mahajan, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Mumbai North-Central was "a wilful bank defaulter" and had reportedly concealed this fact in her affidavit submitted to the Election Commission of India.
Addressing a press conference here, state Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant and other party leaders said that Mahajan was a "wilful defaulter of bank loans worth at least Rs 67.65 crore."
"Mahajan and her husband (Anandrao Vajendla) have cases against them for not returning Rs 67.65 crore to the Punjab National Bank and the Indian Overseas Bank. This information is missing form her election affidavit which is a very serious matter," Sawant said.
Despite repeated attempts by IANS, Mahajan, who is pitted against Congress' Priya Dutt in Mumbai North-Central, couldn't be contacted for her comments on the charges levelled against her by the opposition party.
However, later in the evening, she released a brief statement on the allegations, but didn't clarify whether everything was mentioned in her affidavit.
"As stated before, my husband's business failed and we have earnestly paid back all the banks by selling all of my and my family's personal assets, including my house and jewellery. Due process has been followed while doing the same," said Mahajan, who is the daughter of former Union Minister, the late Pramod Mahajan.
Giving details supported by documents, Sawant said Mahajan was a guarantor in a Rs 11.40 crore loan given to her husband's company Phoenix Auto Private Ltd (PAPL), and that the concerned bank had filed a case against them for recovering the amount.
While Anandrao Vajendla is a director in PAPL with 51 per cent stake in the firm, Poonam Mahajan was also a director in the company and a sister concern, Aadya Motor Car Co., from March 30, 2011 till December 7, 2015, Sawant said.
"The PNB and the State Bank of India (SBI) have extended loans worth Rs 196.74 crore to Aadya Motor Car Co., of which Rs 67.63 crore is in default. Mahajan has also not mentioned that her husband has 51 per cent stake in Aadya Realtors & Estate Pvt Ltd. We shall move the court in these matters," Sawant warned.
The Congress also sought a probe into how Mahajan's property, which stood at Rs 12 crore in 2014 (when she first became the MP), grew to Rs 108 crore in 2018 but is now just Rs 2 crore in 2019.
"It needs to be probed whether the banks have written off any/some of the amounts due to them. Not mentioning all these details in the EC affidavit is a crime under Section 123 of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951. We shall initiate appropriate legal proceedings in the matter against her," Sawant told IANS.
The Congress leaders further pointed out that Mahajan has now joined the long list of wilful defaulters, contrary to the tall claims made by the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of curbing corruption.
Of the total 48 Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra, 17 seats, including 6 in Mumbai, go to the polls in the last phase of polling in the state to be held on April 29.

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First Published: Apr 27 2019 | 9:06 PM IST

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