On 30 November, industrialist and chairperson of the Bajaj Group, Rahul Bajaj, kicked up a storm after posing a question to Home Minister Amit Shah when he said that there’s an “environment of fear and uncertainty” under the current NDA government. Since then, Bajaj has been criticised by many BJP leaders and Union government ministers for his statement.
While speaking in the Lok Sabha, on Monday, 2 December, BJP MP Ajay (Teni) Mishra from Lakhimpur Kheri district joined the bandwagon and said that the statement comes in the backdrop of ongoing investigations against sugar mill owners in Uttar Pradesh. Mishra alleged that Rahul Bajaj owes crores of rupees to Uttar Pradesh farmers in Lakhimpur.
“Rahul Bajaj owns three mills in Lakhimpur district in which he owes an amount of over Rs 10,000 crore to the farmers for two years. The UP chief minister has initiated investigation against owners of such sugar mills, so it is obvious that they are afraid. Rahul Bajaj's son is the owner of the sugar mill. He goes there once in every three months,” Mishra said in the Parliament.
WHAT’S THE TRUTH?
While it’s true that the Bajaj Group does own a sugar mill in Lakhimpur Kheri by the name of Bajaj Hindusthan Sugar Ltd (BHSL), but Rahul Bajaj is not involved in managing the company.
According to the official website of BHSL, it’s actually Kushagra Bajaj, Rahul Bajaj’s nephew, who is the Chairman and Non Executive Director of the company.
BJP MP MIXES UP THE BAJAJS?
As per the list of board of directors on the company’s website, Kushagra Bajaj is mentioned as the Chairman and Non-Executive Director of the company. Now, Kushagra Bajaj is the son of Shishir Bajaj who is Rahul Bajaj’s younger brother.
Nowhere does the list mention Rahul Bajaj in any of the key managerial positions.
Further, according to a Forbes article, there was a long withstanding feud in the family which got resolved in 2008.
Kushagra wanted all Bajaj family assets to be divided but the issue was resolved later.
“Rahul kept Bajaj Auto, the world’s fourth-largest maker of two-and three-wheeler vehicles, and Shishir and Kushagra got full control over sugar and consumer products,” Forbes report added.
While the BJP MP claimed that Rahul owes money to the farmers for two years, it was decided in 2008 itself, that BHSL is not under Rahul’s control.
BHSL, originally known as The Hindusthan Sugar Mills Limited was founded on 23 November 1931 by Jamnalal Bajaj.
Hence, the BJP MP from Lakhimpur Kheri accused Rahul Bajaj of owing money to farmers for a company that he is not even involved with. It’s actually his nephew Kushagra Bajaj, and not his son, as claimed, who holds a managerial position in the company.
OPINDIA’S MISLEADING HEADLINE
Website Opindia on Tuesday published an article on the claim made by the BJP MP with a headline ‘Bajaj sugar mills owe crores of rupees to sugarcane farmers. Is this why Rahul Bajaj ‘afraid’?’
While the content of the article does mention that the Mishra might have mistaken Rahul’s nephew as Rahul’s son, the headline is misleading.
TWITTER USERS HOLD RAHUL BAJAJ RESPONSIBLE
Several Twitter users shared the Opindia article and held Rahul Bajaj responsible for owing crores of rupees to sugarcane farmers.
(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on Whatsapp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at email@example.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)