Nirani Sugars: Karnataka minister’s son denies wrongdoing, rejects allegation

Bengaluru: Karnataka Mines and Geology Minister Murugesh Nirani’s son Vijay on Sunday denied that the family’s sugar company cheated the state government, as alleged by a Congress leader.

“Our company (Nirani Sugars) is not involved in cheating or wrongdoing. We paid all dues, including salary to workers, and to farmers as per the rules. As our operations and transactions are as per the law, (there is) no question of violation,” said Vijay, the Managing Director of the firm, in a statement here.

A three-term BJP legislator from the Bilgi assembly seat in Bagalkot district, Nirani is Chairman of the Nirani group, which operates 5 sugar mills and a cement plant in the southern state.

Nirani was inducted in the state cabinet in mid-January when Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa expanded the ministry for the third time.

Congress leader H.N. Ravindra recently complained to the state anti-corruption bureau that one of Nirani’s sugar mills — Pandavapura Sahakari Sakkare Kharkane at Mandya — violated company laws by not paying salary to its workers and dues to farmers, whose sugarcane was bought for making sugar crystals.

To this, Vijay said: “As we restarted the loss-making factory amid the pandemic, Ravindra should apologise for making baseless and false allegations or else face legal action.”

Terming Ravindra’s complaint politically motivated, Vijay said though the company incurred Rs 8 crore loss in the last fiscal (2020-21), it paid dues to farmers and complied with all the labour laws.

“We invested Rs 50 crore in the Pandavapura factory and expanded its crushing capacity to 5,000 tonne per day from 3,500 tonne with the latest technology.

“Farmers of Mandya and Mysuru got fair price for their cane produce and 350 youth got jobs,” he added.