Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar’s recent disclosure on the prime minister’s website that as of March 31, 2011, he owns assets totalling Rs12 crore along with 1.47 lakh shares each in his wife Pratibha and his name in Panchil Hotels Ltd is wrong.
A scrutiny of documents with the ministry of corporate affairs’ registrar of companies (RoC) in Pune and Mumbai has revealed that there is no company named Panchil Hotels Ltd.
Pawar’s office in Delhi sheepishly admitted to DNA that it was a “typing error”. The actual name of the firm is Panchshil Hotels Pvt Ltd.
Documents with the RoC also reveal that as of September 2004, Pawar and his wife had 1.47 lakh and 1.45 lakh shares respectively in the company. By a resolution in December 2009, Panchshil allotted 1:1 bonus shares to the duo. This raised Pawar and his wife’s holding in the company to 2.94 lakh and 2.90 lakh shares respectively.
Papers filed by Panchshil with the RoC identified ‘business’ as the occupation of the Pawars and mentioned their residential address as Silver Wood, Napean Sea Road, Mumbai — one of the most affluent areas of the city. DNA has a copy of all the documents.
Incorporated in November 1978 by Pawar’s college friend and sugar trader, Ishwardas Chordia, and his brother Kantilal as first directors, Panchshil Hotels is part of Panchshil Realty Group led by Ishwardas’s son, Atul.
Atul did not respond to DNA’s queries seeking details about the company and investments made by the Pawars in the firm. His office, however, acknowledged receiving a questionnaire from DNA.
Records show Pawar’s family, including his wife and daughter Supriya Sule, are investors in Panchshil Realty Group which has grown at a phenomenal pace over the past decade. The group undertakes mega-sized, premium projects in infrastructure, information technology, special economic zones, hospitality, corporate parks and residential constructions.
Panchshil Realty Group first came into limelight in April 2011 when leader of opposition in the Maharashtra assembly Eknath Khadse drew attention to a February 8, 2010, Eon Aviation flight to Dubai. Passengers on the flight included Pawar, his wife, the then DB Realty managing director Shahid Balwa and his partner Vinod Goenka (both jailed in connection with the 2G scam), apart from four others.
A DNA probe has revealed that in 2010, as per the RoC records, the registered office address of DB Realty’s Eon Aviation Pvt Ltd was 31/A, ground floor, Dr Gopalrao Deshmukh Marg, Pedder Road, Mumbai.
The address is the same as that of Pawar’s Panchshil Hotels Pvt Ltd and other Panchshil Realty firms such as EON Kharadi Infrastructure Pvt Ltd and Eon Hadapsar Infrastructure Pvt Ltd.
A Panchshil employee at the company’s latest address — Shop no 27, 28, 29, 30, 1st floor, Shubhada near RTO office, Sir Pochkhanwala Road, Worli, Mumbai — told DNA that the office shifted from its Pedder Road address to Worli over the last year.
In Pune, the Eon Aviation office is located in the Panchshil Tech Park One complex which shares the controversial survey no 191(A) at Yerawada plot with DB Realty’s five-star hotel project.
Following a report (Pawar’s DB link in Pune) in DNA on April 15, 2011, Panchshil Group acknowledged that Sule and her husband Sadanand hold 4% shares in the Panchshil Tech Park One project.
As revealed by DNA (Sharad Pawar’s DB link reinforced via Eon-Panchshil tie-up) on May 6, 2011, Eon Aviation was listed by the DB Realty IPO prospectus as a partnership firm with Panchshil Realty with Panchshil’s promoter Atul and his brother Sagar serving as directors of Eon Aviation as of December 2009. Panchshil Group firm Eon Hadapsar Infrastructure Pvt Ltd also held 9.90 lakh shares in the aviation firm.
In an interview to DNA in April, Atul had vehemently denied any connection to Balwa or the DB Realty Group. He also said the Panchshil Tech Park One IT complex had nothing to do with the DB Realty Group with which Panchshil shared the controversial plot in Yerawada.