Sanjeev Balyan 1Minister of state for agriculture Sanjeev Kumar Balyan’s office on Tuesday sent out emails to venture capital firms and requesting an appointment to discuss raising funds for launching his “niece’s startup”, reports the Huffington Post India. MediaNama has confirmed the development from venture capitalists who received the email.

The email was sent by Sumit Arora who, as indicated by the Huffington Post report,  functions as Balyan’s personal assistant. The email was also sent from Balyan’s official .nic email id. The contents of the email:

Dear Sir/ Madam,

I am desired to seek an appointment for Ms. Monika Balyan (Niece of Hon’ble MOS (Agriculture & Farmers Welfare), Government of India) for discussing the issue of raising funds with concerned officer of your estemeed company in order to enable her to launch an App “Ä Start-up Company”.

I shall be grateful if you could spare sometime for the said appointment from your busy schedule.

A date and time of the meeting may kindly be sent by revert mail.

With best regards,

Sumit Arora
Office of Hon’ble Minister of State for Agriculture &
Farmers Welfare (Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan),
Government of India
Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi-110 001.

The Indian Express adds that Balyan denied that Monika Balyan was his niece, but was familiar with her and her father. The publication confirmed that Arora also sent the email saying: “I sent the mail on instruction. There seems to be a communication gap. I should not have sent it. It is a mistake.”

However, the minister said that he had not instructed his office to send the email and denied knowledge about it. Balyan added that he wasn’t in office for three days and came to know of the emails only when contacted by journalists. “It seems that this lady, Monika Balyan, came to my home in my absence and asked the clerk posted there to send these emails on her behalf,” told Huffington Post India.