A Mumbai-headquartered offshore corporate service corporation (OCS) has been accused of paying a huge sum of money to companies linked to disgraced former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Gehlot’s party in return for lucrative corporate services.
The allegations have drawn a response from the state government, which is investigating the company’s finances.
The OCS is one of more than 40 companies linked with Gehlots son, who is contesting the Mumbai civic polls.
The company, based in Mumbai’s eastern suburb of Bandra, employs around 3,000 people, according to the state-run Mumbai Corporation.
It says it has never paid any salary to Gehlos son.
The probe, however, is looking into whether the company paid off the son-in-law of the state chief minister, who lost his seat in a snap poll in November 2017.
The state government said in a statement that it would look into the company.
“We are looking into the allegations that have been made by the local political party and are taking the appropriate action,” Mumbai corporation chairman and managing director, Rakesh Sharma, told Reuters.
“As per the law, we cannot comment further on the matter.
We will look into it,” he added.
The Maharashtra assembly election on May 14 saw Gehlott lose to former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis by less than 1,000 votes.
In the state, the ruling Congress party has ruled for nearly two decades.
The party, which won the general elections in 2017 with an overwhelming majority, is set to contest the upcoming municipal elections, which are being held in Mumbai.
The BJP has said it will not contest the municipal elections.
In an interview to Reuters earlier this month, a senior party leader said the state’s largest company was trying to cash in on the Gehlote scandal.
“It is the case that they are trying to curry favour with the people of Maharashtra,” he said.
The investigation into the OCS comes amid a rising number of political scandals.
In April 2017, the Maharashtra government ordered a probe into allegations that two senior party leaders, Gopal Subramanian and Rajendra Kumar, were involved in a corruption scheme involving government contracts and other companies.
The two have denied the allegations and the state has also launched a criminal case into the case.
The government has also ordered an inquiry into allegations of irregularities in the sale of government land, the sale and acquisition of government assets and other matters related to the Gehlenot affair.
(Reporting by Ajay Kumar; Editing by Robert Birsel)