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5 scams that rocked India in 2015

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New Delhi: From DDCA, corporate espionage, to chikki and IPL controversies, India was rocked by a number of scams in 2015. As we bid adieu to the year, here’s a look at the top scandals that made headlines.

  1. DDCA Scam

The DDCA scam began making headlines after the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the CBI’s raid at his Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar’s office earlier this month was carried out to look for files related to the alleged financial irregularities in the cricket body when it was headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Soon former cricketer and now suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad addressed a scathing press conference flanked by Bishan Singh Bedi apparently raising the issue of corruption in the DDCA and targeting Jaitley. Taking strong exception to AAP leaders’ allegations against him, Jaitley filed a civil defamation suit against Kejriwal and five others. BJP, on its part, cracked a whip on Azad by sacking him from the party for his alleged “anti-party activities”. Unperturbed by his suspension, Azad has vowed to continue exposing corruption in the DDCA. This issue promises to make headlines in 2016 as well.

  1. Corporate Espionage Scandal

The year began with the arrests of five senior executives of India’s top private energy companies – Reliance Industries, Essar, Cairns India, ADAG Reliance, and Jubilant Energy – for allegedly being involved in the leaking of Petroleum Ministry documents.

Delhi Police said in its charge sheet submitted to a Delhi court said that a “handsome monthly amount” was paid by the arrested corporate executives to those “hired” for obtaining the “stolen documents” from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG).

An amount to the tune of Rs. 2.5 lakhs per month was being paid to the two accused, Lalta Prasad and Rakesh Kumar, who were the first to be arrested outside Shastri Bhavan in the national capital.

The documents were then supplied to the firms by these officials for their benefit, the police had alleged. A total of 16 people were arrested in connection with two separate FIRs lodged by the Crime Branch.

  1. Lalit Modi Money Laundering Case

Former Indian Premier League (IPL) commissioner Lalit Modi found himself in deep water after he made headlines for allegedly being involved in a money laundering case. The business honcho was accused of bid rigging, awarding contracts to his friends, accepting kickbacks on a broadcast deal, selling franchises to members of his family, betting, and money laundering. He took refuge in the UK after absconding from India even as the Enforcement Directorate was investigating the cases.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje were also accused of doing a favor to Modi by helping him secure the UK travel documents. The issue rocked Parliament where the Congress gunned for Swaraj demanding her resignation for helping a “fugitive” escape the Indian law.

The issue isn’t over yet, especially when Modi has been reinstated as the President of the Rajasthan Cricket Association.

  1. Chikki Scam

The Maharashtra Women and Child Welfare minister, Pankaja Munde, found herself caught in a cleft stick after she was accused of awarding contracts for various items including the sweet snack, “chikki” for tribal area schools without calling for e-tenders.

Congress lawmaker Sharad Ranipse moved a breach of privilege motion against Ms Munde in the state assembly, accusing her of flouting rules of business.

“The Governor in his first address… had mentioned that e-tendering will be made mandatory for all purchases, which was approved by the state cabinet… By approvingRs. 206 crore-worth items, Ms Munde has flouted the rules of business,” Ranjpse said.

Following the allegations, the state government informed the Bombay High Court last month of a policy decision which would ensure that no goods of substandard quality are henceforth purchased.

  1. Uttarakhand Flood Relief Scam

An RTI reply has revealed a major scam that took place over three years involving disaster relief funds provided to Uttarakhand by the Union government.

Ramesh Kumar Jaisawal, a resident of Mussoorie, claimed that the Central government has admitted to having provided Rs 9,171.70 crore under the heads of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force, Centrally Sponsored schemes (CSS), Central Plan (CP), Special Plan Assistance (SPA), externally aided projects (EAP), and Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. Besides, funds agencies such as Asian Development Bank and World Bank had also released funds for disaster relief.

Shockingly, the state government admitted to receiving only Rs 5,727.44 while denying that it had received funds under the CSS and Central plan schemes and claiming that funds under these schemes were directly given to various departments without its knowledge.

The Uttarakhand government has much to answer in this regard.(Image:Forbes)

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Ex-Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif Indicted on Corruption Charges

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Muhammad Safdar, husband of Maryam Nawaz, daughter of ousted Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif, waves from a a vehicle as he arrives at an accountability court in Islamabad. VOA

Islamabad, October 19: Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been indicted on corruption charges stemming from information taken from the so-called “Panama Papers.”

The country’s anti-corruption court indicted the 67-year-old Sharif during a hearing Thursday in Islamabad. His daughter Maryam and son-in-law Mohammed Safdar were also indicted. Maryam Sharif and Mohammed Safdar appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A lawyer for the elder Sharif, who is in London with his wife as she undergoes cancer treatment, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. Maryam Sharif angrily dismissed the allegations as “baseless.”

Sharif was disqualified by Pakistan’s Supreme Court and removed from office in July after leaked documents last year from a Panama-based law firm revealed the family held a number of unreported overseas assets.(VOA)

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Journalist Behind the Panama Papers Killed in a Car Bomb

Caruana Galizia was recently described by the American news outlet Politico as a "one-woman WikiLeaks".

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Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device. (Representative image) Pixabay

Valletta, October 17, 2017 : A journalist who led the Panama Papers probe into corruption in Malta was killed on Monday in a car bomb near her residence, the media reported.

Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device, reports the Guardian.

A blogger whose posts often attracted more readers than the combined circulation of the country’s newspapers, Caruana Galizia was recently described by the American news outlet Politico as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”.

Her latest revelations accused Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and two of his closest aides, connecting offshore companies linked to the three men with the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan.

No group or individual claimed responsibility for the attack, the Guardian reported.

Malta’s President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, called for calm. “In these moments, when the country is shocked by such a vicious attack, I call on everyone to measure their words, to not pass judgement and to show solidarity.”

ALSO READ Not Just Journalist Ram Chandra Chhatrapati, these 9 People too Bore the Brunt of Speaking Truth to Fight Corruption

In a statement, Muscat condemned the “barbaric attack”.

“Everyone knows Caruana Galizia was a harsh critic of mine,” said Muscat, adding “Both politically and personally, but nobody can justify this barbaric act in any way.”

He announced in parliament later on Monday that Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officers were on their way to Malta to assist with the investigation, following his request for help from the US government.

According to local media reports, Caruana Galizia filed a police report 15 days ago to say that she had been receiving death threats.

The journalist posted her final blog on her Running Commentary website at 2.35 p.m. on Monday, and the explosion, which occurred near her home, was reported to police just after 3 p.m.

Over the last two years, her reporting had largely focused on revelations from the Panama Papers, a cache of 11.5 million documents leaked from the internal database of the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. (IANS)

 

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Amit Shah Rejects Allegation of Money Laundering on Son Jay Shah

"Where has money laundering been done? All the transactions happened through cheques and banks," claimed Amit Shah at an event.

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Amit Shah, BJP National President. Wikimedia

Ahmedabad, October 13, 2017 : Breaking his silence, BJP president Amit Shah rejected allegations of money laundering against his son Jay Shah whose company had reportedly recorded an extraordinary spike in business after the BJP came to power at the Centre, and asserted that it had not done any business with the government nor taken any kickbacks.

He also said that unlike the Congress, which had faced many corruption charges in the past, his son has shown courage to file a civil and criminal defamation suit on the allegations levelled against him and “invited a probe against himself” by this step.

“There is no money laundering involved in Jay’s company. This company is completely in commodity business, where turnover is more while the profit is less. We have exported bajra, corn and rice while coriander was imported. And after doing a turnover of Rs 80 crore, they don’t tell how much they made profit,” Amit Shah said at an “India Today” event “Gujarat Panchayat”.

Answering questions, he said that after making a turnover of Rs 80 crore, Jay made a loss of Rs 1.5 crore. “Where has money laundering been done? All the transactions happened through cheques and banks,” he said.

Asked about Jay Shah filing a defamation suit against the publication, Shah said: “Before answering your question I would like to ask you one thing. After Independence, how many corruption charges have been made against the Congress?

“Please understand this is not corruption. Many allegations of corruption were made against the Congress. Did it ever file a civil suit or defamation suit? No. Why they lacked such courage? Today Jay has filed a defamation as well as civil suit and is demanding a probe himself. Those who have the evidence can submit it to the court, and then the court will decide,” the BJP president said.

He said: “We have ourselves invited a probe and on the company issue I want to clarify that it has not done business with the government of even Re 1 nor taken any government land or tender. Neither has it received kickbacks as in the case of Bofors.”

When asked about Jay’s company securing unsecured loans, Shah said it was not unsecured loans. “It was a line of credit,” he added. (IANS)