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Rahul Gandhi owns 83% in mystery Mumbai firm

By BS Bureau in Mumbai
May 28, 2004 08:51 IST
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Rahul Gandhi owns 83% in a little known Mumbai-based engineering company, Backops Services.

However, even though the affidavit filed by Gandhi with his nomination papers for the Amethi Lok Sabha seat reads that he owns 83 per cent stake in 'Backops Services', the fourth floor office of the firm at Puran Nivas on Arthur Bunder Road, Colaba, displays the name 'Backops Engineering'.

The company has an official website -- back-ops.com, which contains the bare minimum information about the company's job and lists a mobile number, 35452225, to contact the company. The phone was switched off on Thursday.

Housed near the Taj Mahal Hotel, adjacent to the Radio Club, the Mumbai office of Backops employs about 10 people. Nobody knows who the 'boss' is here.

When Business Standard visited the building in the evening, the office was locked and no employee was seen. The 50-year-old building also houses a foreign exchange dealer, a firm of architects, an export house and a dental clinic.

Employees of some of these companies, under condition of anonymity, said they have often seen Gandhi here. "He was seen last about six months back. Normally he comes here every three to four months. Milind Deora (son of Murli Deora and a Congress MP) also comes here accompanying him," one of them said.

"Gandhi stays at the Taj Mahal Hotel whenever he comes to this office. Often, he is accompanied by foreign friends. Those days, lunch for the office comes from the five-star hotel," pointed out another.

An afternoon paper in Mumbai reported that the company was involved in the construction of the international airport building in Mumbai, the Belapur railway station in Navi Mumbai, a container freight station for Maersk Sealand, a commercial complex at Phoenix Mills at Lower Parel in Mumbai, the Wockhardt headquarters and the Wockhardt Hospital at Mulund in Mumbai, the IPCL township at Nagothane in Maharashtra, among others. Wockhardt officials have denied any involvement with the company.

A Mumbai-based leading civil engineering firm said it has no knowledge of Backops' existence. "If such big projects were done in this city, some part of the work should have been sub-contracted. But no such thing has happened," senior executives of the firm pointed out.
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