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CBI probe shows scale down of illegal remittances in BoB case

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New Delhi: The aggregate amount of illegal foreign remittances sent via a Bank of Baroda (BoB) branch under the context of imports, which is being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), was scaled down from Rs. 6,172 crore to about Rs. 3,200 crore.

“The bank had initially quoted overseas remittances to the tune of Rs. 6,172 crore, based on an internal audit. Following a review, the bank then brought it down to Rs. 5,100 crore. However, the latest figure stands at Rs.3,200 crore,” an officer was quoted as saying to a newspaper.

The investigative agencies are tracking the transactions made through 59 bank accounts in the case, which were opened through an Ashok Vihar branch of Bank of Baroda by two bank officials. The transition of money took through Hong Kong and Dubai.

The majority of the accounts were registered under the name of import companies and mentioned fake addresses. The CBI investigations disclosed that the identification documents were forged in the name of slum dwellers, drivers and street vendors to set up these shell companies. They also paid Rs. 10,000 to 15,000 per month to the people for allowing them to use their documents.

CBI found that the deceitful exporters by the branch led to trade-based money laundering to retain illegal duty drawback benefits. The bank branch would use overstated statements, to pay an extra sum to their Indian accomplices, which would drawback the duty claims by them.

The arrangement by the bank branch caused a deficit of funds on the part of the middlemen and, to surpass the shortfall, the illegal sum would be pushed into the banking system via small and undetectable deposits through the entry operators in large numbers to Indian accounts.

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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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money laundering
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)

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The True Story behind Case against NDTV Founders: Read Here!

While the mainstream media has opinionated on the case against NDTV, here are some facts that paint the true picture

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Case against NDTV founders
Prannoy Roy, founder of New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV). Twitter
  • After a case against NDTV founders had been registered, the CBI raided the residence
  • The raids prompted the NDTV to respond by alleging that the investigating agency is acting “under pressure” and further calling the fiasco a ‘witch-hunt’
  • The case has been registered by the Banking Fraud Division of the CBI alleging the NDTV founders for defrauding the ICICI Bank along with other violations 

The Background

So the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a case against NDTV founders – Prannoy Roy and wife Radhika Roy- on the 5th of June, 2017. Consequently, a day after, the investigative agency also raided the residences of Prannoy Roy and his wife, along with four other premises in Delhi and Dehradun belonging to promoters. Cases have been registered against their company RRPR Holding Ltd as well as ICICI Bank officials.

The FIR has been filed by Sanjay Dutt, a former consultant at NDTV. The NDTV is also being investigated by Income Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate when it was discovered that NDTV received funds from a foreign institution but settled the account at 80% less than the actual amount received.

The case comes as a consequence of an allegation against the founders for causing over Rs. 48 crore losses to ICICI bank. They are booked under the Indian Penal Code and Prevent of Corruption Act for criminal conspiracy, cheating, and criminal misconduct.

The ICICI had given the founders’ private holding company-RRPR Holding Private Ltd-a loan of Rs 366 crore. The Roys had guaranteed their NDTV shares at a price more than the prevailing price at Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

The loan was closed within a year, however, the interest was waived off resulting in a loss of Rs 48 crores for the bank. The equivalent amount was moved out of the holding company’s bank account.

The FIR report explicitly states that NDTV as well as ICICI “entered into a criminal conspiracy to transfer ownership of a news company, i.e NDTV, to a shell company against banking rule and SEBI Act.”

On the basis of last year’s letter by the Enforcement Directorate to the CBI showcasing irregularities by the ICICI bank, a FIR was registered.

The NDTV responded by calling the whole incident a ‘witch-hunt’ after stating that the founders have not defaulted any loans. The media organization has called Dutt’s allegations false. The NDTV and its allies have countered this as an attack on free speech.

Case Against NDTV Founders
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Wikimedia

The Focus

The NDTV issued a statement calling this whole incident a ‘witch-hunt’ and a political attack on the freedom of speech. It also argued that the CBI has no jurisdiction to investigate such matters that concern the private banks and EVEN IF there has indeed been a loss incurred. CBI, in counter, has cited the example of ‘CBI vs Ramesh Gelli’ case which was ruled in the favor of the investigating agency. CBI has the right to investigate the matter.

It is worth noting that the CBI is not just investing the loan default case but violations of SEBI guidelines and RBI rules. NDTV’s decision to address the CBI as “acting under pressure” is shameful.

Dutt has also claimed that the collateral shares that the Roys had guaranteed were never notified to stock exchanges and SEBI. SEBI has also initiated a probe.

The priority of the investigation is to explore “wrongful gain” of Rs 48 crores to the Roys and their holding company. That clearly implies how NDTV’s claim that this whole fiasco is an “agenda” is simply not true.

NDTV and allies that have been questioning the investigations must understand deeper forms of suspicion that have surrounded the transactions.

Manisha Pande, from Newslaundry, has explained with the remarkable simplicity about the essential factor that investigations are to keep in mind. So RRPR, the holding company, received Rs. 403.85 crores from a shell company- Vishwapradhan Commercial Private Ltd. Now this shell company had received this same amount from Shinano Retail as a loan. The Shinano Retail is fully owned by Reliance Industrial Investments and Holding which received this same loan from the main source Reliance Ventures Ltd, subsidiary of Reliance Ltd.

Hence, Dutt urges to find out “who is the true owner of NDTV?” by calling it, what many would agree, a Hawala (money laundering) transaction.

Manisha Pande has thus rightly pointed out the “investigation cannot start and end at NDTV.” She continues “CBI would have to probe some other important people” especially since the trail points to other noticeable direction.

It is also worth noting how NDTV had been enjoying heavenly fortunes when the UPA came to power. The company raised $417 million in different parts of the world through 20 wholly-owned subsidiaries.

Therefore, while the mainstream media and Twitterites will continue to raise and justify political factors, continuing with their blame game and bargaining, at the end of the day it is the law which is over everything. The law and justice must prevail. None of the facts point to the CBI trying to “silence the media under pressure”.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

ALSO READ: Salil Gewali’s ‘Exclusive: Fall of the Draconian Roar of NDTV?’ on NewsGram

You can follow Manisha Pande and her views on her Twitter handle @MnshaP

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Govt taking measures on whistleblowers’ tips to tackle black money: Jayant Sinha

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New Delhi: The government is taking specific action on the basis of information provided by whistleblowers in its measures to tackle black money stashed abroad, parliament was told on Tuesday.

Certain persons, claiming to be whistleblowers, have made an offer of assistance in the investigation of black money stashed away abroad.

Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha expressed the union government’s plans in this regard, in the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

The government has taken specific steps in this regard. Disclosure of the steps taken, at this stage, would not be in the interest of further investigation, he said.

In a separate reply, he said the government has initiated various steps to deal with black money stashed abroad, including setting up of a special investigation team (SIT) and enacting a new law to deal with black money in off-shore accounts.

The minister also said 669 prosecutions related to tax evasion were launched in 2014-15, up from 641 in the previous fiscal.

“Prosecution complaints under applicable provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961, have been filed in appropriate cases,” Sinha said, adding the new black money law, with stricter penalty and prosecution provisions, had come into force from July 1. (IANS)

(Picture Courtesy:indiatoday.in)