The only son of a top Bharatiya Janata Party national leader was involved in the export of meat and beef to the Middle East until about 2004. The beef was being exported when Atal Behari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister of India. The information had come to light shortly before the Parliamentary polls in the same year, which the BJP lost, thus paving the way for the formation of the Congress-led UPA government under Dr Manmohan Singh.
Sources said that the Congress party had obtained the information about the BJP leader’s son’s association with a leading Dubai-based company from another functionary of the Sangh Parivar and at one stage had wanted to expose the link. However, the BJP leader was tipped off in time by a well wisher in the Congress, who had a vested interest in doing so. The BJP leader immediately asked his son to withdraw himself from the company, which was eventually shut down. As a consequence, the Congress, which had planned to draw political capital from the exposé, was forced to drop the issue altogether.
According to sources, several influential BJP leaders were aware about the existence of the Dubai-based company and its links with their colleague’s son. They procured the phone numbers and address of the firm and passed these on to well connected Congress activists, who, in turn, communicated the information to the bosses of the party. A senior Congress leader, who subsequently became a Cabinet minister, was given the assignment to dig out the truth, so that it could be used during the campaign. This particular leader shared the details with one of his associates, who did not waste any time in informing the BJP leader, since there was a question mark over the outcome of the impending polls at that time. Some of the Congress leaders, including the informer, were overawed by the India Shining and Feel Good Factor campaign by the saffron brigade and wanted to play safe in case the BJP won the polls. As things turned out, the Congress won and also lost the opportunity of ending the political career of the prominent BJP leader.
Controversial BJP leader Sangeet Som, who has been accused of inciting passions following the death of one person suspected of consuming beef in Dadri too was reportedly engaged in the meat and beef export business according to a report published in the Hindu on Saturday. Sangeet Som has subsequently denied the news item, claiming that the issue was settled and found to be inaccurate when he had applied for a BJP ticket some years ago. However, the newspaper, quoting official documents has said that Som was a director in Al-Dua, one of India’s leading halal meat exporting companies, along with two other partners — Moinuddin Quereshi and Yogesh Rawat. Som had ceased to be a director in March 2008 and transferred his 20,000 shares to a certain Nasira Begum at Rs 10 a share.
Som has told the Hindu that he had made a mistake while investing in land in Aligarh along with his partners and had no idea that Al-Dua had anything to do with meat. Al Dua, at the time, was just a piece of land. He has termed the accusations as a political conspiracy against him by his Samajwadi Party rival Atul Pradhan and has claimed that despite being a Rajput he was a vegetarian and “did not even consume eggs”, and would not do anything to hurt Hindu sentiments.
A day earlier, Som had told the Hindustan Times that he was unaware of being appointed as director in the company and his role was confined to only procuring the plot of land near Aligarh.