Shaikh of Gujarat Gas dismisses BJP graft charge

Vol 23, PW 5 (16 Jan 20) People & Policy

Maqsood Shaikh, the only high-ranking Muslim manager at Gujarat Gas, has firmly dismissed allegations of corruption contained in an unsigned letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani by a self-avowed BJP activist.

"All the charges are frivolous, bogus and baseless," Shaikh told this report from Gurdaspur in Punjab. "This is a case of personal or professional rivalry."

Soon after the letter was received by Rupani's office on November 5 (2019) GSPC managing director Sanjeev Kumar issued an order on December 13 (2019) transferring Shaikh sideways from his position as VP commercial and marketing in Ahmedabad to Gurdaspur where he now heads operations at newly won geographical areas in Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. In the order Kumar justifies Shaikh's transfer by saying his presence in Punjab will help Gujarat Gas pursue a focused approach.

Most however believe Shaikh's transfer was triggered by (unsubstantiated) allegations contained in a two-page complaint from Ketan Desai of Valsad, who writes his name at the top and describes himself as a BJP supporter. Desai charges Shaikh with receiving 'kickbacks' of Rs5 lakhs ($7000) for the allocation of a CNG station and lists several properties Shaikh has bought including a Rs2.5cr ($352,000) flat in Mumbai, a Rs1.5cr flat ($211,000) in Surat, a Rs1cr ($141,000) flat in Vadodara and two flats worth Rs50 lakhs each in Ahmedabad ($69,600) plus a Rs35 lakhs ($48,700) SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) he drives.