Monday, October 21, 2013

CBI set to file coal scam report to Supreme Court

The CBI is likely to file its status report in the coal scam before the Supreme Court on Tuesday stating details of its 14th FIR against Hindalco and others, and also progress in the remaining 13 cases.

Highly-placed sources said the Supreme Court would be given the details of a fresh FIR filed against Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, Hindalco and former Coal Secretary P.C. Parakh.

They said the status of the probe in the remaining matters - including those in which investigation has been completed - will be conveyed to the apex court on October 22.

The CBI has registered 14 FIRs so far in connection with alleged graft in the allocation of coal blocks, in which AMR Iron and Steel, JLD Yavatmal Energy, Vini Iron and Steel Udyog, JAS Infrastructure Capital Pvt Ltd, Vikash Metals, Grace Industries, Gagan Sponge, Jindal Steel and Power, Rathi Steel and Power Ltd, Jharkhand Ispat, Green Infrastructure, Kamal Sponge, Pushp Steel and Hindalco have been named as accused.

The agency will also give a status report on the preliminary enquiry it registered in connection with the missing files, the sources said.

The Supreme Court is monitoring the probe in the coal block allocation scam to restore the larger public interest and confidence of the people into a case of this magnitude.

The court is scrutinising coal block allocation since 1993 on three PILs, seeking cancellation of blocks on the grounds that rules were flouted in giving away the natural resources, and that certain companies were favoured in this process.

In a recent hearing, the Supreme Court issued notices to seven coal mining states - Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal - ordering them to explain the allocation policies they adopted by October 29.
By Mail Today Bureau
PUBLISHED: 22:34 GMT, 20 October 2013 | UPDATED: 22:34 GMT, 20 October 2013
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One suspended after Khemka's wheat seed scam complaint

The National Agricultural Co-operative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (Nafed), has suspended one of its managers for violating the policy of purchasing seeds from registered firms.

The move came after whistleblower Ashok Khemka's complaint to the CBI about irregularities in wheat seed supply.

"We have placed our Ludhiana branch manager, R.P. Sharma, under suspension," Nafed chairman Dr Bijender Singh told this reporter. The suspension order was issued five days ago.

The action comes after the CBI, on receiving Khemka's complaint, wrote to the Ministry of Agriculture - which asked the Nafed to probe the allegation that non-certified wheat seeds were supplied to the Haryana Seed Development Corporation (HSDC).

The PSU, in its internal probe, has found Sharma guilty of misusing various provisions of the Nafed policy.

Sources said Sharma had written a letter on November 3, 2010, while on leave, assuring the HSDC that the Nafed has 20,000 quintals of wheat seeds in its stock.

Details of the seed scam
The seeds supplied to the Haryana government were not certified and procured through unregistered firms, the sources said, adding that Sharma has also been found guilty of misleading the Haryana government and sullying the PSU's image.

Khemka, who was the Managing Director of HSDC from July 18, 2012 to March 4, 2013, had given a report to the CBI seeking registration of a case against officials of the National Cooperative Consumers' Federation (NCCF) and Nafed for selling seeds at inflated prices to the HSDC.

"NCCF and Nafed procured seeds from 32 private agencies at a price between Rs 1,450 and Rs 1,700 per quintal, but sold it to HSDC at Rs 2,050 and pocketed a margin of Rs 350 to Rs 450 per quintal," Khemka's complaint says.

The Haryana IAS officer had also found the role of four officers suspicious. Now with the CBI registering a preliminary enquiry on Friday, four Haryana government officers and 32 seed suppliers are likely to come under the scanner of the probe agency.
By Manjeet Sehgal
PUBLISHED: 21:21 GMT, 20 October 2013 | UPDATED: 21:37 GMT, 20 October 2013
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Not all black and white now

New Delhi, May 7 -- Investigative website Cobrapost has alleged that several leading private and public sector banks and insurance companies help customers launder black money - in other words, help convert black money into white - by deliberately and brazenly violating various banking and other laws. The Reserve Bank of India, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority, the finance ministry and many of the individual banks and insurers have instituted investigations into the allegations and have promised strict action against officials if they are found guilty. That is a good beginning, but for it to mean anything, the authorities must lay down a time frame within which the investigations will have to be completed.

Before proceeding further with this edit, a caveat will be in order: prima facie, it appears that no crime has been committed as no transaction has taken place. What Cobrapost has reportedly exposed - in two sets of sting operations - is only the alleged intent of some bank and insurance executives to help undercover reporters, posing as potential customers, launder their money. But this shouldn't in any way deter the investigators from delving deeper into the issue of whether money laundering is, indeed, rampant across India's financial services industry, as Cobrapost has alleged. Why? The issue is much more serious than a few overzealous (and misguided) executives offering to throw caution and the law book to the winds to gain that elusive competitive advantage.

At this point, it is too premature to say whether the allegations of money laundering are based on facts or otherwise. But what they have done is focus attention on India's financial services architecture, which is crying out for reform. The truth is that the system is creaking at the seams, it is very easily manipulated and far too many people at various levels have way too many discretionary powers that can be abused. Such a system, obviously, cannot deliver the goal of financial inclusion that is the holy grail of every government. So, even as the authorities investigate the allegations, pin individual and institutional responsibility in case of violations and punish the guilty, the government should not ignore the wake-up call this sting operation has sounded - for it has opened our eyes to the need for an immediate and thorough overhaul of the nation's financial services system. If we heed the warning signs and act now, the website's sting operation may yet become a catalyst for fundamental and far reaching changes that will continue to pay dividends for many decades to come.
Hindustan TimesBy Hindustan Times | Hindustan Times – Tue 7 May, 2013
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

Many shades of black money

New Delhi, Feb. 5 -- A lowdown on how India's black economy deals thrive outside the financial system by creating a web of transactions that obscure the sources of slush funds.

What is black money?
Black money is income on which tax is evaded. It represents a large part of a bustling economy where transactions are carried out in cash circumventing banking channels.

What is the size of India's black economy?
Finance minister P Chidambaram is likely to reveal a new estimate of India's unaccounted "black money", most of it stashed abroad, in this year's budget session and follow it up with a plan to hold it to account.

Which agency has worked out the estimates of India's black economy?
The new estimates, the first since 1985, have been compiled at the government's behest by three think-tanks, the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER), National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), and National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM).

This report, which was submitted to the government in December, is speculated to have pegged the size of black economy at about 30% of India's gross domestic product (GDP) or about Rs.25 lakh crore.

Which are the most common areas to generate and use black money?
About a third of India's black money transactions are believed to be in real estate, followed by manufacturing and shopping for gold and consumer goods.

Property deals, bullion and jewellery purchases, financial market transactions, rigging of markets through foreign entities using instruments such as participatory notes, manipulations through entities claimed to be constituted for nonprofit motive, differing tax rates in different tax jurisdictions, under-invoicing and money laundering using the hawala or the informal banking route are among the common methods used for generating black money.

How is black money generated using accounting manipulations?
Under-invoicing is a common accounting trick used by firms to evade taxes. Suppose Firm X buys goods worth Rs.1 lakh from a vendor. The vendor will issue bills or invoice worth Rs.60,000 and receive the balance in cash keeping it outside the tax net.

What about investment in unlisted companies?
Investment in hundreds of unlisted companies are under the government's scanner for funneling thousands of crores of rupees of black money into the legitimate financial system through instruments such as convertible debentures.

How are convertible debentures used to hide slush funds?
Convertible debentures are instruments through which an investor exchanges the funds, which he had lent, into equity at a later date, thus making them legitimate shareholders of the company.

For instance Person X lends Rs.10 crore in cash to a real estate company through a convertible debenture.

The real estate firm uses the money to pay vendors for the ongoing projects. Under the deal, person X "converts" Rs. 10 crore into equity shares at a later date and becomes a legitimate shareholder of the real estate firm.

Since these are unlisted companies, disclosure norms aren't as stringent as these do not come under the scanner of the market regulator Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

What measures has the government taken to track transactions in black money?
The government has tracked undisclosed incomes of more than Rs.50,000 crore over the last three years, while tax evasion worth more than Rs.1,000 crore has been detected from inputs from foreign countries.

The revenue department is pursuing more than 50,000 pieces of information regarding suspicious transactions received from overseas and domestic agencies.

Nearly 12,500 inputs on assets and payments received by Indian citizens in several countries have been obtained, "which are now under different stages of processing and investigation".

The government has introduced compulsory reporting in case assets are held abroad and also started tax collection at source in case of purchases in cash of gold or jewellery in certain cases.

Viewed as going hand-in-hand with corruption, "black money" had been at the top of the agenda of widespread public protests last year. These sums, compared to India's total annual welfare spending of about R3 lakh crore, are staggering.

How can the black money be put productive use by the government?
If hidden incomes of R25 lakh crore were to be disclosed and taxed at 30%, it would generate R8.5 lakh crore, enough to build a 2000-bed super-specialty hospital in each of India's 626 districts.

Alternately, it could offer a "zero-tax" year for all individuals and companies, and still enable a sufficient budget that funds all expenses, including salaries and welfare schemes.

How can the curbing of transactions in cash address curbing black money circulation?
It is imperative to develop systems such as incentivising the use of credit and debit cards for small purchases to plug the loopholes in India's bustling cash economy that remains a major area in the proliferation of black economy.

A government white paper on black money tabled in Parliament last year observed that given the primary importance of cash in relation to both generation and use of black money, there is no alternative but to target cash transactions in a way that will not affect those complying with the law, while making it difficult for those intending to generate and utilise black money.

This will require keeping fairly high transaction limits and exempting those with a reasonable audit trail at both ends of the transactions.

Payments by debit and credit cards through Indian e-service intermediaries can further bring down the costs of using such cards, improve their acceptability, and encourage payments in these modes and reduce the cash economy.

The government can also deliberate providing tax incentives for use of credit/debit cards as practised in countries such as Korea.
Hindustan TimesBy Gaurav Choudhury | Hindustan Times – Tue 5 Feb, 2013
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

Three top private banks accused of money laundering

New Delhi, March 14 (IANS) Three top private banks have been accused of running a nationwide money laundering racket by an investigative news website and production house, based on a sting operation that they said spanned some five months.

Stating that it was a pan-India undercover investigation, Cobrapost Thursday claimed to have caught on tape several officials of these banks indulging in "brazen criminal activity" by channelizing vast amounts of ill-gotten money into the regular banking system as laundered white money.

"Our investigation, conducted across dozens of branches of these banks and their insurance affiliates revealed that the money laundering practices are part of a standard set of procedures within these banks," said Cobrapost.

Speaking to IANS, editor of Cobrapost, Aniruddha Bahal, said: "These banks and their managements are violating several provisions and policies of the government with utter disregard to consequences to boost cheap deposits and increase profits."

The banks rake in vast amounts of black money in the form of illegal deposits, insurance and investment products, sold by them.

"The interaction between officials of the banks and our reporter clearly brings out the connivance of senior management of these banks in facilitating money laundering and other illegal transactions," said Cobrapost.

"The senior management has compromised all standards of governance and brazenly broken the law by offering money-laundering services practically as a nation-wide product," it added.
IANSIANS – Thu 14 Mar, 2013 3:16 PM IST

10 things you need to know about Black money

India will now be able to track black money held in Swiss bank accounts.  Switzerland has finally agreed to share information on funds held in its banks to fight tax evasion and concealment of illicit funds.

Switzerland has been under severe pressure to co-operate with countries across the world and divulge data on funds parked in Swiss banks. Swiss banks are known to have strict client confidentiality clause and hence are a popular haven for illicit income.

Here are the 10 things you need to know about Black money and India

1) Swiss banks will now have to bring down the wall of secrecy around its account holders and divulge information regarding overseas money held in banks. 58 countries worldwide have signed the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.

2) Indians hold about Rs 9,000 crore or 2.18 billion Swiss francs in Swiss Banks at the end of 2012 according to data released by Swiss National Bank. The overall amount held in Swiss banks by entities from across the world is estimated at around Rs 90 lakh crore.

3) Swiss National Bank’s report also states as of end 2012, out of the total 2.18 billion Swiss franc deposits by Indian individuals and entities- 1.34 billion Swiss francs were held directly by Indian individuals and entities and the rest 77 million Swiss francs was via ‘fiduciaries’ or wealth managers.

4) India saw black money outflow of $123 billion from 2001-2010. India ranks eighth and is among the top ten developing countries with illicit funds outflow at $1.6 billion according to a report by Global Financial Integrity in December 2012.

5) The report from Global Financial Integrity’s also says that the total outflow of black money from India since Independence until 2010 was $232 billion. The aggregate value of illicit assets held by Indians from 1947 to 2010 is estimated at $487 billion.

6) Global Financial Integrity’s report titled Illicit Financial Flows found that only 27.8% of India's illicit assets are held domestically and 73% make their way overseas.

7) In 2012, India was ranked 94 out of 176 countries in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index. It was tied with Benin, Colombia, Djibouti, Greece, Moldova, Mongolia, and Senegal.

8) Transparency International in 2008 reported that about 40% of Indians have paid bribes to get a job done in public offices. This figure was 62% in a study conducted by the same firm in 2005.

9) An Indian government report claims that as of December 2012, it conducted 2603 surveys and has detected Rs 8255 crore in undisclosed income in the country. This figure was Rs 6572.75 crore in the year 2011-12 when 3706 surveys were conducted.

10) In a White paper on Black Money tabled in Parliament in 2012, the government conceded that the real estate sector is one of the largest holders of illicit income and unaccounted funds. A large number of transactions are not reported and a vast number are under reported. As the realty sector contributes 11 percent to GDP, this huge amount of under reporting is a huge dent to the treasury.
Yahoo Finance India
By Simplus Information Services | Yahoo Finance India – Thu 17 Oct, 2013 4:01 PM IST

CBI to investigate Khemka's wheat scam claims

The CBI has decided to register a preliminary enquiry (PE) into the alleged Rs 5-crore wheat seed scam, which was unearthed by senior Haryana IAS officer Ashok Khemka in March this year.

"For an in-depth probe into the matter, the CBI is in the process to register the preliminary enquiry within a day or two," SP, CBI's Chandigarh unit, Vineet Brij Lal said.

The agency started the probe six months ago. The CBI's decision comes a day after a section of media reported that the Haryana government had found "grounds" to file a second charge-sheet against Khemka, for the alleged low sale of wheat seeds during his tenure in Haryana Seed Development Corporation (HSDC) as its Managing Director from October 15, 2012 to April 4 this year.

Khemka, in his complaint to the CBI on March 4, had alleged that NAFED and NCCF had kept the HSDC in the dark by claiming that the required certified seeds were available with them.

He claimed in his complaint that had the two agencies informed the HSDC, it would have procured the seeds from private agencies and funds between Rs 3.5 to 4.5 crore could have been saved.

Although the Haryana government did not find anything suspicious in the wheat seed scam, media reports stated that it decided to issue the second charge-sheet against Khemka. The charge-sheet was cleared by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Tuesday, sources said.

Interestingly, the Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government is yet to serve the first charge-sheet in which it accuses Khemka of "misconduct" and "over-stepping his jurisdiction" in cancelling the mutation of a land deal worth Rs 57 crore struck between AICC president Sonia Gandhi's industrialist son-in-law Robert Vadra and real estate major DLF.

Sources close to Khemka confirmed that he is yet to receive the first charge-sheet, and added that the IAS officer has decided to write to the Haryana government on the issue on the basis of media reports.

"How can we comment on the said charge-sheet when it has not been served so far?" Khemka's advocate Anupam Gupta said.
By Manjeet Sehgal
PUBLISHED: 21:15 GMT, 17 October 2013 | UPDATED: 21:50 GMT, 17 October 2013
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'Non-resident PM' Manmohan racks up Rs 640 crore bill for almost 70 foreign trips as critics claim he is 'running away from Parliament'

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a reluctant traveller. He never takes a night flight, doesn't want elaborate meals, and prefers reading on board - unlike his predecessor Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had a taste for golden fried prawns and Bollywood movies while in the air.

But that hasn't kept the good doctor from racking up an impressive record of foreign trips.

Singh has surpassed Vajpayee and many other former prime ministers, earning the tag of "non-resident Prime Minister" with over 70 foreign trips and nearly Rs 650 crore spent on his travel since 2004, when he was sworn in as Prime Minister for the first time.

In his second term, Singh has already made 36 foreign tours and embarked on the 37th on Sunday, leaving on a five-day visit to Russia and China. No fewer than 15 of Singh's 36 UPA II foreign visits were made when Parliament was in session. In fact, the Prime Minister has been out for a few or more days during nine of the 14 Parliament sessions of the last four years.

More trips, including one to the United Arab Emirates, are in the offing before the 2014 elections. The list of Singh's visits shows the highest expenditure of Rs 26.94 crore during his seven-day-long visit to Mexico and Brazil in 2012 to attend the G20 and Rio+20 Summit.

This is followed by Rs 22.7 crore spent on travel to the USA and Brazil in 2010, when he attended the Nuclear Security Summit, BRIC Summit and IBSA Summit.

In contrast, Vajpayee made 35 foreign trips during his tenure as Prime Minister from 1999-2004 at a cost of Rs 185 crore to the state exchequer.

This itinerant attitude has less to do with the taxpayer's money and more with what these visits yield. Singh's foreign visits have produced only limited gains for Indian diplomacy. Take the case of his recent trip to the US. While his meeting with President Barack Obama was merely a formality, his meeting with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, too, failed to address India's concerns on terrorism.

Back home, his diminishing clout became international news when Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi publicly trashed as "nonsense" an ordinance on convicted lawmakers that had the Singh's approval.

Parliament's sessions - and where the PM visited
What Manmohan missed
In his two tenures, the Prime Minister's preferred destination has been the US, where he has travelled 10 times for bilateral meetings with Obama and for the UN General Assembly and the nuclear security summit.

Russia has been visited nine times in as many years by Singh. Incidentally, Singh has been able to visit only a few countries in the neighbourhood despite India's growing interest and engagement in the region.

The Prime Minister's foreign tours are warranted as India's global engagement has grown over the years. His critics, however, blame him for being away when important decisions are being taken in Parliament and even when the country is facing a domestic crisis.

"The Prime Minister has violated a time-tested tradition by going abroad when Parliament is in session. Nehruji, Indira Gandhi, Vajpayee all respected this tradition and didn't go abroad when Parliament was in session," senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad told Mail Today.

"He has mismanaged the country and wants to run away to foreign countries because he has nothing to say," he added.

Singh continues to defy the convention that the Prime Minister will lead the treasury benches in Parliament. His predecessors often skipped foreign tours to be present in Parliament. For instance, in the aftermath of Gujarat riots, Vajpayee skipped the Commonwealth summit and sent his foreign minister Yashwant Sinha to Australia.

Defending the PM's itinerary, his communication advisor Pankaj Pachauri said: "Trips are planned months in advance and the prime minister does not run away from his domestic responsibility. Certainly you have to be at G-20 and at UN and other important forums and his trips have added to India's diplomatic clout. It is not that the PM has ignored issues back home. The PM attends Parliament regularly."

Asked why the PM is missing on most critical occasions, like the Coalgate debate in Parliament, he said: "If something unforeseen happens, we cannot renege on our international commitments."

PM prepares for Chinese agreements
By Mail Today in New Delhi
A host of agreements will be on the table when PM Manmohan Singh lands in China this week for a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang on Wednesday.

Among the key agreements up for signing is one relating to visas that will codify and hopefully end the visa-related problems, including those faced by businessmen, between the two countries.

Diplomats from the two countries have also finalised a new Border Defence Cooperation Agreement, which will raise the level of coordination from flag-level to that of the armies' headquarters, with regular communication to ensure that incidents along the LAC do not spiral out of control.

On the vexed boundary issue, the PM will flag Indian concerns on aggressive intrusions by PLA but that will largely be for public consumption. Any progress on the dispute is unlikely because China expects territorial concessions in Arunachal Pradesh that New Delhi considers non-negotiable.

Meanwhile, Singh's letter to DMK chief M. Karunanidhi has brought his visit to Colombo for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meet next month under a cloud, even though PMO officials say the issue is still wide open.

The PM said in the letter that he would pay due heed to the concerns of the DMK and Tamils while deciding on his participation.

Sources in South Block say Vice-President Hamid Ansari may represent India at the 54-nation event instead, as the Congress is not ready to anger Tamils with elections scheduled in the summer of 2014.
By Saurabh Shukla
PUBLISHED: 22:12 GMT, 20 October 2013 | UPDATED: 22:12 GMT, 20 October 2013
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Saradha chit fund scam worth ` 2,460 crore

THE alleged chit fund scam in West Bengal involving the Saradha Group revolves around a total sum of ` 2,460 crore with 80 per cent of the depositors’ monies still remaining unpaid, a latest investigation report has revealed.

The report also states that the arrested Saradha chairman Sudipta Sen was in total control of all deposits made by his Group companies, which are under the scanner for having perpetrated the alleged fraud. Four companies of the Saradha Group, the report said, used to mobilise money through three schemes fixed deposit, recurring deposit and monthly income deposit which lured innocent depositors with promises of either landed property or a foreign tour as incentive returns.

A joint investigation report of West Bengal police and Enforcement Directorate ( ED), in possession of PTI, stated that, the summary report ( of the Group) for the years 2008- 12 revealed that the four companies of Saradha Group had mobilised an amount of `2,459.59 crore through issuance of their policies.

The investors were paid an amount of `476.57 crore. As of April 16, 2013, the principal amount to be paid to the investors stood at ` 1,983.02 crore, the report added.

The statistics, prepared by the probe agencies after analysing the companies’ business sheets and recording the statements of investors, show that 80 per cent of the depositors’ money was still held up. Sleuths found that the four Saradha Group companies namely Saradha Realty India Ltd, Saradha Tours and Travels Pvt Ltd, Saradha Housing Pvt Ltd and Saradha Garden Resort and Hotels Pvt Ltd were in the business of mobilising money from gullible investors.

Investors were also given the option of encashing their investment after the specified period along with very high returns, the report said.

Friday, October 18, 2013

NSEL SCAM : Ex- NSEL chief Sinha arrested

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police on Thursday arrested
former MD &CEO of the scamhit National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL). He was arrested at 6 pm after being questioned for seven- eight hours over his role in the ₹ 5,600- crore payment crisis that hit the exchange two months back.

The police have charged Sinha under sections related to fraud, forgery and cheating and are expected to present him in court on Friday.

There were unconfirmed reports that during his questioning, Sinha recanted his affidavit, in which he had taken on himself the entire blame for the mess at NSEL. He is reported to have told the interrogators that some members of the NSEL board were in the know of things. Police sources, however, denied this.

In a press statement, Sharad Saraf, chairman of NSEL Investors Forum, said: “ It was surprising that Sinha went back on his affidavit and implicated ( promoter) Jignesh Shah and NSEL directors. This is in complete variance with what he had earlier said in his affidavit”.

This, the forum said, showed why an unreliable person should not have been given the task of managing NSEL.

Sinha was scheduled to appear before EOW on Wednesday but had instead sent his wife, Shalini Sinha, managing director of SNP Designs, with an application saying he would present himself on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials had questioned Anjani Sinha in connection with a money- laundering case related to the exchange. ED had on Monday registered apreliminary inquiry report under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, suspecting large- scale money- laundering at the exchange.
Mumbai, 17 October

NSEL SCAM: FMC unleashes slew of actions to shake up MCX functioning

Appoints 2 independent directors, clears appointment of IFCI’s Tomar and Corporation Bank’s
Commodities markets regulator Forward Markets Commission (FMC) on Thursday appointed G Anantharaman and Pravir Vohra as independent directors on the Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX) board.

FMC has also approved the appointment of IFCI chief credit officer Shivendra Tomar and Corporation Bank General Manager P Paramashivam as institutional shareholder directors on the board of the exchange.

Other institutions are likely to nominate directors soon.

Through the next few days, FMC is planning a slew of measures that would change the face and functioning of the country’s largest commodity bourse.

The FMC action is part of its efforts to clean up the bourse, which accounts for about 85 per cent of trades in the country, and insulate it from risks emanating from the 5,600- crore payment crisis at National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL).

Anantharaman, former member, Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), would hold the position till June, when he turns 70.

FMC has set 70 as the upper age limit for directors of commodity exchanges. Anantharaman brings with him rich experience in the legal and market surveillance areas, which he dealt with while at Sebi. He has also dealt with sensitive investigations in his earlier role as director general of income tax.

Till recently, Vohra was chief technology officer, ICICI Bank. He is experienced in information technology strategy and enterprise architecture, according to his published profiles. “ These new directors will join the nominees from shareholder institutions such as IFCI and banks, which are expected to come in soon,” said an FMC official.

FMC would also address stakeholders’ concern that board- level changes cannot address the operational management of the exchange, as this was still under the control of those appointed by the exchange’s tainted promoters. “ We will remove certain key employees in the coming days for allowing IBMA, a related party, to trade... Both Shreekant Javalgekar, managing director and chief executive, and Dipak Shah, its head of surveillance, will have to go,” the official added.

Javalgekar was on the board of IBMA, which was trading on both MCX and NSEL. Earlier this week, an MCX spokesperson had told Business Standard, “ MCX has an automated trading system, with virtually no human interference. Calls for margin money are automated, with adequate provisions for informing members about their margin requirements and settlement dues. Moreover, the system does not waive or lower margin money for members’ leveraged trades. Members are not allowed to take new positions without the requisite margin requirements and the system automatically squares off all such outstanding positions.” A temporary managing director and chief executive would be appointed and an oversight committee to supervise the functioning of this temporary management would also be constituted.

FMC would also direct the board to initiate a special audit. Grant Thornton, the global consultancy that conducted a forensic audit on NSEL, is likely to conduct the special audit. “ We are happy with the work done by them on NSEL. The terms of reference for this special audit would be decided by us,” the regulator said.

Paramashivam as institutional shareholder directors, orders special audit by Grant Thornton
National Spot Exchange Ltd’s promoters, directors and defaulters now face attachment of movable and immovable properties from the economic offences wing ( EOW) of the police here, in connection with the ₹ 5,600- crore payment disputes case.

The EOW has got a recommendation it had sought from the collectors of Mumbai District and Mumbai Suburban District for the invocation of provisions of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishments Act, 1999, against these people. This would enable it to take action in this regard.

EOW deputy commissioner Balsing Rajput told Business Standard: “ We will issue notices from Friday onwards to the NSEL promoters, directors and defaulters under the Act’s provisions. (We) will be in a position to attach the movable and immovable properties of those against whom the FIR ( police case) has already been lodged, on charges of cheating, forgery and breach of trust.’’ Deputy collectors from the two districts will be the ‘ competent authority’ in line with the Act’s provisions. Once attachment is done by EOW, the competent authority comes into the picture for disposal of these through auction. The said Act envisages, on conviction, punishment for a promoter, partner, director, manager or any other person or employee of a financial establishment for afraudulent default with jail up to six years and a fine up to 1 lakh.

The government can conduct the attachment exercise through the appointment of a competent authority, pending further orders from the designated court.
SANJAY JOG, Mumbai, 17 October

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

State moves to dilute cases against fraud cos

MUMBAI: In an apparent attempt to dilute cases where investors were duped, the state government has issued orders asking police to chargesheet them under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) instead of the special act MPIDA or Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors Act (in financial establishments).

MPIDA was enacted in 2000, on the RBI's desire for a stringent law against financial establishments which duped investors by offering huge returns. The existing laws were found to be inadequate to deal with the growing number of such companies. MPIDA's salient feature was that the properties of the companies could be attached and auctioned to repay the investors. But some companies moved the Bombay high court questioning the state's powers to promulgate such an act. In November 2005, the HC struck down the act putting the trial in these cases in a limbo.

There are at least 50 cases in the state where investigations were complete but chargesheets could not be submitted as the act became defunct. In the remaining 454 cases the chargesheets were submitted but the trial could not take place following the SC order which gave interim relief to fraudsters.

The state government went in appeal in the Supreme Court to restore the act. Even as the appeal is yet to be decided, the state government this month directed the police across the state to chargesheet the pending cases under IPC. The reasoning is that since the appeal is yet to be decided by the SC it does not make any sense to wait further.

Officers say that the government order will pave the way for the SC to take a view that since chargesheets are being submitted under IPC there is no need to restore the act, a move that will benefit the companies.

TOI has a copy of the order signed by special inspector general Rashmi Shukla on behalf of the director general of police. "This is part of the GR issued by the government,'' she said but refused to elaborate further.

Police officers told TOI that they were surprised that the government took a decision without consulting any of the officers dealing with such cases. "The government on the one hand has been speaking about setting up special units across the state to handle cheating cases. At a meeting with officers on January 13, state home minister R R Patil asked us to take the assistance of lawyers and chartered accountants in complicated cases. This order will benefit the companies. The government claims to have discussed the issue with the law and judiciary department,'' a police officer said.

According to them, once a chargesheet is submitted under the IPC, all the properties attached under MPIDA will have to be relased. "The properties were attached under the provisions of MPIDA and not IPC. Besides, the bank accounts of these fraudsters frozen under the special act will also have to be activated. There is also the issue of limitation, where the magistrate courts will say the chargesheets have not been submitted within the stipulated time. The courts will throw out the chargesheets,'' a police officer said. Additional commissioner of police (economic offences wing) Sanjay Saxena refused to comment.
C Unnikrishnan, TNN Jun 7, 2010, 03.36am IST

Auram scam: Execs diverted funds, say cops

MUMBAI: Police investigation into a cheating case registered against Auram Realty has revealed that the directors diverted the money collected from investors into setting up hotels, constructing buildings and financing C-grade movies and music albums. The directors also purchased high-end vehicles — BMW, Audi, Tavera, Honda City and Honda Accords — and bought gold worth Rs 35 lakh.

The economic offences wing (EOW) recently arrested two of the directors, Jignesh Rathod (35) and Shafiq Shaikh (32). The EOW is looking for six more directors — Sandeep Shukla, Manoj Shukla, Hemant Jaswantrai Mehta, Subhash Prahraj, Abhijit Gavande and his wife Kajal Gavande.

Sandeep, promoter of Leo 1 Productions, was the financier of the second season of a popular reality show. The bank accounts revealed a cash transfer of Rs 1 crore to Leo 1 and another Rs 50 lakh to actor Rajpal Yadav to produce a film, the police said. Manoj was one of the partners of the Kalyan's Samarth builders.

TOI was the first to report the scam as well as the involvement of Shukla brothers. "The company claimed to be into construction of weekend bungalows in Karjat, Singhdal, Shahapur and Ambivli ,'' said additional commissioner of police (EOW) Sanjay Saxena. The investors are spread across the state and have collectively lost more than Rs 40 crore as of now. The police say the accused had entered into an MoU on bogus stamp papers and got the same notarised. "Bogus property documents and tentative ownership papers of non-agricultural plots signed by Rathod were annexed with the MoU,'' a police officer said. The accused spent money in setting up digital film studious in Mumbai, Delhi , Chandigarh, Amritsar and Dubai. The police found the accused also used investor money to a hotel in Thane.

The EOW acted on a complaint by Amrish Patankar, a customs clearing agent and a resident of Majiwadi in Thane.

They floated various schemes for different investors ranging from Rs 51,000 to Rs 7.25 lakh. "On an investment of Rs 51,000, the investors were offered Rs 8,160 per month and at the end of the third year, promised ownership of a 170-squarefoot plot in the said bungalows. If one invested Rs 5 lakh, he was promised Rs 89,250 per month and ownership of a 1,750-square-foot plot plus a 10-gram gold coin. Those who invested Rs 7.25 lakh were offered Rs 58,000 per month plus ownership of a 2,500-square-foot bungalow at the end of the third year and a 20-gram gold coin.''
S Ahmed Ali, TNN May 25, 2010, 06.08am IST

Realty company dupes investors of Rs 40 crore

MUMBAI: The economic offences wing (EOW) has registered a case against a realty firm for allegedly cheating over 3,000 investors after promising them high returns. The firm, M/s Aurum Realty Ltd, the police say, may have swindled people all over the state and the fraud is to the tune of Rs 40 crore.

According to an EOW official, Amrish Patankar, a Customs House clearing agent, lodged a complaint on March 15 stating that the company had floated two schemes at Kasara and Karjat and promised to construct "dream houses" there. "The company promised the unsuspecting victims very high returns on the amount they invested till the project came up. The firm even assured that the investors will be the tentative owners of the one-acre land at Karjat,'' a police officer said.

"The company has two offices in Mumbai; one in Mulund and the other at Senapati Bapat Marg. The Parel office was, in fact, rented on a monthly payment of Rs 1.84 lakh. But the offices are shut now,'' said the officer, adding that more than 35 investors had approached the police. "We suspect the number of those duped is more than 3,000,'' he said. The company has its other offices at Nashik, Aurangabad and Pune.

Investigators said the company floated the scheme in January 2009 and placed huge advertisements in newspapers. The advertisements read: "Change your life. Be Rich. Get wealthy by investing in land.'' The company had two schemes: Nature Valley and Astra Hills. The investors were promised that their money will be doubled in a year. Now, the police suspect that the land at Karjat, for which advertisements were placed, does not even belong to the company.

"Directors of the company were careful in disbursing the returns till March, after which it stopped. Now, the investors have started approaching the police,'' another officer said.

According to the scheme, if a person invested Rs 51,000, he was supposed to get a monthly return of Rs 8,160 for one year. Those who invested Rs 7.25 lakh were to get a monthly return of Rs 1.30 lakh. "In its brochure, Aurum stated that it's ISO certified and had promised customers high-rises with a host of amenities. But since one year the plot has been lying vacant,'' a senior police officer said.
Mateen Hafeez, TNN Mar 23, 2010, 04.43am IST

K’taka MLA held for iron ore export scam

Bangalore: The CBI on Friday arrested another Karnataka legislator, Satish Sail, from Karwar, in connection with illegal export of iron ore through the Belekeri port. Sail is a director of Goabased Shri Mallikarjun Shipping Pvt Ltd (SMSPL), one of the major operators at the port.

On Thursday, the CBI had arrested Kampli legislator Suresh Babu in this connection.

CBI sources said 15 trucks brought to Belekeri 331.9 tonnes of high-grade ore under the account ILC Nagappa between December 2 and 5 in 2009. Seized data revealed that 579 tonnes of low-grade ore was brought by SMSPL between December 5 and 8in 2009 under the same account.

Two consignments of ore were brought in 11 and 83 trucks, carrying 229.93 tonnes and 1781.76 tonnes, respectively. The ore was received at the SMSPL plot in Belekeri, CBI sources said. No permit had been issued for the Nagappa mine during the said period, indicating that the ore extracted and despatched was illegally mined.

Sail will be produced before the CBI court on Saturday.

CBI launches probe into missing Coalgate files

New Delhi: The CBI on Friday launched probe into the disappearance of Coalgate files by registering two preliminary enquiries (PE) as the possible prelude to the lodging of FIRs in the case. The move has again trained the spotlight on the role of the PMO in the allocation of coal blocks to big corporate houses and others.

The two PEs, one related to files of 1993 to 2005 period and another 2006 to 2009 period, are aimed at looking for crucial documents and punish those behind scuttling the Supreme Court-monitored probe. PM Manmohan Singh had held the charge of coal ministry between 2006-2009. CBI director Ranjit Sinha told TOI: “We have registered two preliminary enquiries so that we look for files of both the periods separately on our own.” The CBI’s formal probe is expected to goad the coal ministry officials into sharing with investigators what they might know about the circumstances in which the files went missing.

Coal ministry officials have told the CBI that some of the missing files were never available in the ministry. The agency decided to split its enquiry in two parts — files relating to allocations done during the period spanning from 2006-09 in which the CBI has registered 13 FIRs so far, and files related to the period between 1993 and 2005 in which no FIR has been registered, the sources said.
Neeraj Chauhan TNN

Investors lose crores in bid to get rich quick

NEW DELHI: At a time when companies are finding it hard to raise capital to fund their projects due to the global slowdown, thugs in India have successfully steered clear of the recessionary spiral. Beating global meltdown fears, they have cashed in on the ignorance of gullible investors, duping them of crores of rupees.

And with two such cases coming to light recently, an alarmed Delhi Police is planning to launch an advertising campaign urging people to be cautious against alleged fraudsters like Subhash Aggarwal and Ashok Jadeja. The latest case involves owners of BK Jewellers Rajesh and Chetan Mallik who are being alleged to have duped more than 300 invetsors of crores by assuring them handsome returns on investment.

Similarly, Aggarwal, who has been arrested, allegedly lured people into investing Rs 10,000, promising them Rs 1,000 interest every month. In the same manner, self-claimed godman Ashok Jadeja in Gujarat also won the trust of a denotified tribe over a period of time and assured its members of tripling their investment. In all the cases, the alleged fraudsters won the confidence of the people they targeted through word-of-mouth publicity and by initially living up to their promise. While Jadeja allegedly duped people of Rs 1700 crore across 11 states, Subhash, who started three years ago, allegedly made away with several thousand crores, operating from his Aman Vihar residence. Both of them targeted people from the low-income group.

Cautioning investors, joint commissioner of police (crime and railways) Amulya Patnaik said: "If by any means or advertisement, e-mails, any person is offering returns which look very attractive, we appeal to investors to consider such offers with caution and verify the details about the company. We will issue a list of dos and don'ts through a series of advertisements.''

Explaining Jadeja's modus operandi, a senior officer of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) said: "Jadeja targeted his own tribe. He invoked religious sentiments to milk his tribesmen who have traditionally been into the liquor trade. The tribe is very secretive and Jadeja knew that no one from outside the community will come to know of his designs.''

He was also aware that his tribesmen were financially illiterate and would never invest in mutual funds or any other financial instrument. "And that was the reason he had a free run for almost six months since January. His publicity was done through word of mouth and his tribesmen approached him from all corners of the country. His aunt, Manbai, advised Jadeja to inject a religious aspect into the scheme. She spread the word that Sikotar Mata had blessed Jadeja to help his community grow wealthy,'' said the officer.

Aggarwal, on the other hand, used the old trick of quick and fat returns. To win the trust of investors, he initially did keep his word. "Later he collected huge sums of money from investors and gave them cheques. But these cheques bounced and Aggarwal after two to three assurances disappeared.''

Investigators say that such complaints are very common. These people will always target a community or a region and would set up their base secretly. "Any person, coming out with unrealistically attractive schemes, knows his exit time and what it takes to create a base. In Jadeja's case, Ahmedabad Police has found that he started the money chain schemes in January. His scheme was more like multi-level marketing in which investors also become agents and spread the word,'' said another police officer.

Such scams are not new. "Delhi Police recently registered cases against Kanakdhara MLM Company for allegedly defrauding investors by drawing them into multi-level marketing. They promised a return of Rs 26 lakh on an investment of Rs 13,000,'' said an EOW officer.

Kanakdhara was started two years ago from west Delhi. Soon, the accused set up their offices in Mumbai and other parts of India and allegedly duped investors of Rs 10 crore. The Mumbai Police arrested the father-son duo of Bhupendra Singh Bakshi (54) and Gurkaran Singh Bakshi (24) in February this year. The police claimed the duo amassed wealth worth several crores, including several acres of land in Rajasthan. The Delhi Police also seized SUVs during the initial days.

Investigators cite many problems in probing such cases. "It becomes very difficult to trail the siphoned off money as there are no receipts. We have been taking help of forensic auditing in Kanakdhara case to determine the amount of losses,'' said a senior police officer. Another problem is that it's very difficult to link these men to any property.
Rahul Tripathi, TNN Jun 14, 2009, 12.56am IST

Beware of blade companies: Belgaum SP

BELGAUM: SP Sandeep Patil has called upon the public to be wary of companies assuring high returns on short-term investments.

In an official release, the SP said many financial companies are engaged in the business of assuring high returns either in the form of installments, interest or attractive prizes. "But most of them close down after collecting crores from gullible investors," he added.

Patil also cautioned the public about moneylenders who charge exorbitant interest on a regular basis. "This is nothing but atrocity on the poor, and it is punishable," he said, asking the public to inform the police in case they come across such companies.

The SP's move follows the looting of a general store belonging to Sanjay Tenginkai by people. Tenginkai had "allegedly" collected crores of rupees from people, assuring them of 10% return on their investment every month, for three years.
May 15, 2011, 09.25pm IST

Real estate firm's MD held for fraud

NEW DELHI: The managing director and proprietor of a real estate company, allegedly involved in cheating more than 5000 people through a pre-launch scheme, was arrested by the crime branch of Delhi Police from Mumbai on Monday. Accused D K Aggarwal (47) had been declared proclaimed offender by the Delhi High Court and carried a reward of Rs 50,000 for his arrest in 13 cases of cheating and forgery.

CA Aggarwal had been absconding after the fraud came to light last year. He floated a company called Laxmi Vatika Limited with its office in Connaught Place. Soon afterwards the company offered pre-launch options in various housing projects at Dehradun, Mumbai, Mohali and Patna.

Aggarwal, who once worked with the JVG Group, a company involved in a Rs 172 crore scam in 2000, adopted a different modus operandi this time. He issued advertisements promising a high quality of life in the proposed townships. The investors were assured that the company had the required land, licence and registration certificate.

"In reality, the company had no land, licence or papers and all the promises were false to cheat gullible investors. No permission was sought by the company from the concerned authorities for setting up of the proposed townships and the company had no authority to collect money from the investors," said joint commissioner of police (crime and railways) Alok Verma.

Meanwhile, the company collected money for the projects from investors in the range of Rs 51,000 to Rs 7 lakh but made no allotments. Aggarwal then disappeared, prompting investors to sue him and his company. While on the run, he used 33 SIM cards to avoid being caught.

The police kept track of Aggarwal's movements, and the cases against his company were transferred to the EOW of Delhi Police. Local intelligence revealed that he moved to Mumbai where he lived in different houses and hotels.

The police traced the accused car with its Delhi registration number in Mumbai and he was arrested there.
TNN Sep 10, 2008, 02.40am IST

Monday, October 7, 2013

Shreesurya assets worth less than half the money lost by complainants

NAGPUR: The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the state police has so far found assets worth only Rs6 crore in the name of M/s Shreesurya Investment or its promoter Sameer Joshi. This is not even half the amount mentioned in complaints registered by the firm's investors till date. EOW has registered FIRs from 175 persons who had parked their funds in Shreesurya's schemes, with the total investment coming to Rs13 crore.

Joshi himself, on the other hand, has admitted to having liability of Rs 80 crore towards various individuals from whom he had collected investments for his company's schemes. The police investigation so far pegs the amount collected by Joshi at Rs 250 crore, coming from over 5,000 persons. Though it is yet to be ascertained how many of these investments have seen a default in repayment.

The cops have booked Joshi and his wife for defrauding people, but the couple has not been arrested so far. The investigators maintain that they want to build a strong case first.

"The process of registering complaints will remain open. So far around 175 persons have turned up to file reports of being duped of nearly Rs 13 crore in all. The team has come across documents related to around 25 properties, spread across the entire state. The search continues," said a source. The properties are mainly flats or plots not costing more than a few lakh each, added the source.

Even though he has failed to meet his commitment to investors, Joshi maintains that he has enough assets to liquidate and clear his dues.

The EOW has already alerted the office of the Inspector General of Registration not to register any document if Joshi company's properties are being sold. But even as the search for properties continues, the cops are not hopeful of finding much.

However, sources close to Joshi say that he may have many more properties. According to a ballpark estimate, his holdings in the city itself can be valued at over Rs12 crore. These include a 22-acre farmland on the outskirts, a commercial property and a bungalow in an upmarket residential complex, said a source privy to Joshi's affairs. Some of his investments could be in dummy names too, the source said.
Shishir Arya, TNN | Oct 7, 2013, 05.05 AM IST

Sunday, October 6, 2013

कलेक्टर के फोन पर डरे पत्रकार नेता

ग्वालियर में चिटफंड कंपनियों एवं उनके दूसरे व्यापारों को सील करने के साथ जिला व पुलिस प्रशासन ने दैनिक अखबार परिवार टुडे और केएमजे न्यूज चैनल पर भी ताला जड़ दिया। जिस कारण इन दोनों मीडिया हाउसों के करीब दो सैकड़ा लोग बेरोजगार हो गए और केएमजे न्यूज चैनल के राजीव अग्रवाल फूलबाग परिसर के जल बिहार में सभी बेरोजगार पत्रकारों को एकत्र कर बैठक का आयोजन कर लिया। 

जब कलेक्टर आकाश त्रिपाठी को इस बात की भनक लगी तो उन्होंने राजीव अग्रवाल से फोन पर पूछ लिया कि क्यों राजीव मेरे खिलाफ पत्रकारों को भड़का रहे हो। इतना कहते ही राजीव की हालत पतली हो गई और वो बोल पड़े नहीं साहब हम सब तो जेडे को श्रद्धांजलि देने इकठ्ठ हुए है। बस नेताजी की बैठक खत्म हो गई।

ग्वालियर में एक और अखबार पर संकट

चिटफंड कंपनियों पर शुरू हुई कार्रवाई ग्वालियर में अखबारों के लिए काल बन गई है। क्योंकि जिन चिटफंड कारोबारियों ने खुद को शासन-प्रशासन से बचाने के लिए अखबार व चैनल शुरू किए थे अब प्रशासन उन्हीं पर तालाबंदी कर रहा है।

पुलिस ने चिटफंड कंपनी बीपीएन और सनशाइन के खिलाफ प्रकरण दर्ज कर लिया है और कलेक्टर आकाश त्रिपाठी के पास इन कंपनियों के निवेशकों ने शिकायतें प्रस्तुत की हैं।

खबर है कि इस सप्ताह में कलेक्टर द्वारा उक्त कंपनी के दूसरे व्यवसाय मसाले एवं बीपीएन टाइम्स अखबार के प्लांट व दफ्तरों पर तालाबंदी की कार्रवाई के आदेश दे सकते हैं। 

हालांकि, बीपीएन गु्रप के संचालकों बघेल बंधुओं ने कलेक्टर से सैटलमेंट के लिए अपने अखबार के संपादक व पत्रकारों को फील्डिंग में लगा दिया है कि हर हाल में कलेक्टर को मैनेज करो। यदि ये टीम मैनेजमेंट में फेल हो जाती है तो परिवार टुडे और केएमजे न्यूज चैनल की तरह बीपीएन टाइम्स पर तालाबंदी हो जाएगी।

आखिर बीपीएन टाइम्स में ताला लगा - पत्रकारों के सामने रोजी रोटी की समस्या

ग्वालियर के पत्रकार जगत को एक और झटका लगा है। शनिवार को जिला प्रशासन ने दैनिक बीपीएन टाइम्स व मासिक पत्रिका बीपीएन टुडे के कार्यालय को सील कर दिया। पिछले दो माह में ग्वालियर में तीन मीडिया समूहों पर जिला प्रशासन की कार्रवाई की गाज गिरी है। यह सभी मीडिया समूह चिडफंड का व्यवसाय करने वालों के थे। इसके पहले जिला प्रशासन ने केएमजी न्यूज और परिवार टुडे के कार्यालय सील किए थे।

चिटफंड कंपनियों के खिलाफ कार्रवाई करते हुए शनिवार को जिला प्रशासन की टीम ने बीपीएन टाइम्स व बीपीएन टुडे के कार्यालय को भी सील कर दिया। फिलहाल कंपनी की पिं्रटिंग प्रेस सील करने की कार्रवाई नहीं की गई। कलेक्टर के आदेश पर तहसीलदार ने शारदा विहार स्थित कार्यालयों पर ताला लगा दिया। कार्रवाई के दौरान विरोध न हो इसके लिए पुलिस बल भी मौजूद था।

चिटफंड कंपनी बीपीएन रियल एस्टेट एंड एलाइंड व सनसाइन इंफ्रा बिल्ड की संपत्तियों को कुर्क करने संबंधी आदेश शुक्रवार को कलेक्टर आकाश त्रिपाठी ने तहसीलदार आरके पांडे को दे दिए थे। आदेश के पालन में शनिवार को शारदा विहार स्थित अभ्यंक कॉम्पलेक्स में मौजूद बीपीएन टाइम्स व बीपीएन टुडे का दफ्तर सील कर दिया गया।

कार्रवाई को अंजाम देने के लिए दोपहर करीब एक बजे तहसीलदार आरके पांडे, यूनिवर्सिटी थाना प्रभारी एमके सिंह के साथ दल-बल लेकर अभ्यंक कॉम्पलेक्स पहुंचे। यहां पहुंचते ही अधिकारियों ने दफ्तर को सील करने की कार्रवाई शुरू की गई। दफ्तर के अंदर कम्प्यूटर, पिं्रटर व फर्नीचर इत्यादि सामान मौजूद था। सबसे पहले कार्यालय के अंदर और फिर बाहर के मुख्य द्वारा पर ताला जड़ा गया। इस कार्रवाई में करीब डेढ़ घंटे का समय लगा और दोपहर ढाई बजे अधिकारी वापस लौट गए।

मालिक फरार :  
बीपीएन टाइम्स व टुडे  के संचालक वकील सिंह बघेल, संजीव सिंह बघेल, बीएल बघेल, एसएस पाल, राजवीर सिंह  बघेल तथा एक अन्य फरार हो गए हैं। प्रशासन द्वारा चिटफंड कारोबारियों पर मामला कायम होने के फौरन बाद ही दो-दो हजार रुपए का इनाम भी घोषित है।

रेड्डी बंधु - साइकिल से सोने के सिंहासन तक

खनन के काले कारोबार से कर्नाटक में सामानांतर सरकार चलाने की कुबत रखने वाले रेड्डी बंधुओं के पापा का घड़ा आखिर भर ही आया। सीबीआई ने इन पर नकेल कसकर फिलहाल 14 दिन तक न्यायिक हिरासत में डाल ही दिया। क्या कभी आपने सोचा होगा कि रेड्डी बंधुओं की ताकत का राज क्या रहा है, जिसके कारण पिछल्ले कई वर्षों से चल रहे उनकी अवैध सामराज्य का कोई कुछ भी नहीं बिगाड़ पा रहा था। आइये दिखते हैं साइकिल से चलने वाले मामूली आदमी के सोने के सिंहासान तक सफर की झलक।

गरीबी में हुए पैदा
गली जनार्दन रेड्डी किसी अमीर परिवार में पैदा नहीं हुए. पुलिस कांस्टेबल चेंगा रेड्डी के घर में 1967 को पैदा हुए गली जनार्दन रेड्डी ज्यादा स्कूली शिक्षा नहीं ले सके और दसवीं के बाद ही पढ़ाई छोड़नी पड़ी. पढ़ाई छोड़ने के साथ गली जनार्दन रेड्डी कमाई के लिए सड़कों पर निकल पड़े. चिटफंड कंपनी के एजंट बनकर साइकिल उन्होंने गली गली घूमकर पैसा जोड़ना शुरू कर दिया. नब्बे तक ऊंचे ख्वाब को आंखों में लिए जनार्दन रेड्डी कौड़ी कौड़ी जोड़कर अमीर बनने का सपना देख रहे थे. लेकिन उन्हें महसूस हुआ कि इस रास्ते उतना अमीर नहीं हुआ जा सकता जिसका सपना वे अपने मन में संजोए हुए हैं. इसलिए उन्होंने राजनीतिक पैठ बनानी शुरू की और समय के साथ उन्हें वह सबकुछ हासिल होता गया जिसकी वे कल्पना भी नहीं कर सकते थे.

राजा की तरह ठाठ
लौहअयस्क खनन में अनियतिताओं को लेकर सालों से सुर्खियां बटोर रहे कर्नाटक में मंत्री, बेल्लारी के मशहूर रेड्डी बंधुओं के ठाठ-बाट बिल्कुल राजा-महाराजाओं सरीखे है। बेल्लारी में अवैध खनन के मामले में रेड्डी के घर सोमवार को छापे के दौरान 1.5 करोड़ रुपए नकद बरामद होने की बात सीबीआई कह रही है।

कर्नाटक लोकायुक्त को अपनी संपत्तियों का ब्यौ देते हुए रेड्डी ने सबको चौंका दिया था। रेड्डी को सोने का काफी शौक है। तभी इनकी कुर्सी से लेकर बेल्ट तक सोने से बने हुए हैं। जनार्दन रेड्डी जिस सोने की कुर्सी पर बैठते हैं उसकी कीमत 2.2 करोड़ रुपए है। और इनके द्वारा इस्तेमाल किए जाने वाले सोने के बेल्ट की कीमत 13.15 लाख रुपए है। रेड्डी के घर में मौजूद सोने की थाली, कटोरी, चम्मच और चाकू जैसी चीजों की कुल कीमत 2.87 लाख रुपए है। जनार्दन रेड्डी के पिता एक सिपाही थे और जनार्दन कभी साइकिल पर अपने कस्बे में घूमा करते थे। रेड्डी ने 21 साल की उम्र में अपनी कंपनी इनोबल इंडिया सेविंग्स एंड इंवेस्टमेंट कंपनी लि. शुरु की थी। यह कंपनी चली नहीं और कुछ सालों बाद बंद हो गई। उस समय लोहे के अयस्क यानी आयरन ओर का व्यवसाय शुरु किया। इस धंधे ने उन्हें और कर्नाटक के छोटे से कस्बे बेल्लारी का नाम पूरे भारत में फैला दिया।

20 जून 2010 को रेड्डी ने खुद लोकायुक्त के सामने पेश गए दस्तावेज में जो जानकारी दी, उसके मुताबिक रेड्डी के ने तीन पन्नों पर सिर्फ अपनी ज्वेलरी के बारे में जानकारी दी है जिनकी कीमत करोड़ों में है। उनके पास सोने की चूडियां, कीमती रत्न, सोने के पेंडेंट, नेकलेस, ईयररिंग्स, पुरुषों की ज्वेलरी, अंगूठियां, सोने की दूसरी चीजें और भगवान की सोने की मूर्तियां शामिल हैं। इसके अलावा लाखों की कीमत की चांदी की सजावटी वस्तुएं, पूजा-पाठ करने की सामग्री आदि भी उनके पास है। घर की दूसरी जरुरी चीजें जैसे- एयरकंडीशनर, फर्नीचर और टीवी वगैरह की कीमत भी लाखों में है। कृषि भूमि, बिल्डिंग्स और पैतृक संपत्ति को छोड़ जनार्दन रेड्डी के पास करीब 153.49 करोड़ की संपत्ति है। रेड्डी ने अपने बिजनेस से करीब 31.54 करोड़ रुपये की सैलरी पाने की भी बात लिखी थी।

मित्तल को भी पीछे छोड़ा
दुनिया की सबसे बड़ी इस्पात निमार्ता कंपनी आर्सेलर मित्तल लिमिटेड भी रेड्डी बंधुओं के आगे बौनी है। बहुत ज्यादा दिन नहीं हुए जब आर्सेलर मित्तल ने 30,000 करोड़ रुपये के निवेश वाले समझौता पत्र पर हस्ताक्षर किया तो रेड्डी बंधुओं की ब्राह्मणी इंडस्ट्रीज कर्नाटक लिमिटेड ने 36,000 करोड़ रुपए के निवेश संबंधी प्रस्ताव पर हस्ताक्षर किया। खनन सम्राट के नाम से मशहूर रेड्डी बंधुओं के दबदबे का अंदाजा इसी से लगाया जा सकता है कि आर्सेलर मित्तल समेत अन्य कई कंपनियों ने बेल्लारी जिले को ही अपनी परियोजना के लिए प्रमुख स्थल के रूप में चुना।

215 करोड़ देश के बाहर!
रेड्डी बंधुओं का पैसा देश के बाहर गया है। कर्नाटक के लोकायुक्त संतोष हेगड़े की रिपोर्ट में इसका जिक्र किया गया है। रिपोर्ट के मुताबिक राज्य के अधिकारी हवाला कारोबार में लिप्त हैं और उन्होंने ही रेड्डी बंधुओं का पैसा विदेशी बैंकों में पहुंचाया है। लोकायुक्त की रिपोर्ट में अनुमान लगाया गया है कि रेड्डी बंधुओं और करीबी बी श्रीरामुलु के 215 करोड़ रूपए देश से बाहर गए हैं।

कर्नाटक के लोकायुक्त की टीम में शामिल जांच अधिकारी यूवी सिंह के मुताबिक रेड्डी बंधुओं ने अपनी कंपनी ओबुलापुरम माइनिंग कंपनी (ओएमसी) के जरिए कथित रूप से पैसा विदेशी बैंकों में जमा कराया है। सिंह के मुताबिक इस के पुख्ता सबूत हैं। रिपोर्ट के मुताबिक ओएमसी ने सिंगापुर की कंपनी जीएलए ट्रेटिंग कंनपी इंटरनेशनल को 20 कंसाइनमेंट भेजे जबकि उनका ज्यादातर व्यापार चीन के साथ होता है। अधिकारियों के मुताबिक जीएलए ने 30 नवंबर 2007 को जी जर्नादन रेड्डी को अपना निदेशक बताया है। जीएलए के सिंगापुर, दुबई और ब्रिटिश वर्जिन आईसलैंड में कार्यालय हैं। इन तीनों जगहों को टैक्स हेवन माना जाता है।

चलती रही है समानांतर सरकार
कर्नाटक में रेड्डी बंधुओं की समानांतर सरकार चलती रही है। येदियुरप्पा सरकार में तो रेड्डी बंधुओं के दबाव में येदियुरप्पा तक को झुकना पड़ा था और उन्हें शोभा करंदलजे को मंत्रिमंडल से हटाना पड़ा था। शोभा येदियुरप्पा की करीबी मानी जाती थी।

35 लाख टन लौह अयस्क के मायने
कर्नाटक के लोकायुक्त संतोष हेगड़े ने पिछले कुछ माह से इन दोनों भाइयों के खिलाफ जांच की और पाया कि बिलिकेरे बंदरगाह से 35 लाख टन का लौह अयस्क गायब कर दिया गया है। यह कम आश्चर्य की बात नहीं थी कि 35 लाख टन का लौह अयस्क कैसे गायब हो सकता है? लेकिन ऐसा हुआ है। बहुत कम लोग अपनी बुद्धि से यह समझ पाएंगे कि 35 लाख टन लौह अयस्क के मायने क्या हैं। न्यूयॉर्क की प्रसिद्ध एम्पायर स्टेट बिल्डिंग का वजन अंदाजन साढ़े तीन लाख टन होगा, दूसरे शब्दों में कहें तो रेड्डी बंधुओं ने लगभग दस एम्पायर स्टेट बिल्डिंग को हवा में गायब कर दिया है। आज की तारीख में लौह अयस्क की अंतरराष्ट्रीय कीमत लगभग 145 डालर प्रति टन है, यदि इसे हम 130 डालर भी मान लें और इसमें से 30 डालर प्रति टन ट्रांसपोर्टेशन और अन्य खर्चों के तौर पर घटा भी दें तब भी 35 लाख टन के 100 डालर प्रति टन के हिसाब से कितना हुआ?

इनके सामने बच्चे हैं दूसरे घोटालेबाज
विधानसभा में मुख्यमंत्री येद्दियुरप्पा ने लिखित में स्वीकार किया है कि सन् 2007 में (जब भाजपा सत्ता में नहीं थी) 47 लाख टन लौह अयस्क का अवैध खनन और तस्करी हो चुकी है। इस तरह के कारनामों को सहज ही अंजाम देने की ताकत रेड्डी बंधुओं में रही है। इस ताकत के आगे तो दूसरे तमाम घोटालेबाज नेता बच्चे हैं। अथाह पैसे के कारण रेड्डी बंधुओं की जेब में कई विधायक हैं जो जब चाहे सरकार गिरा देंगे। इसलिए इन लोगों का कुछ भी बिगड़ता नहीं दिख रहा है।

एक ईमानदार अफसर ने दर्ज किया केस
मामले की शुरुआत तब हुई, जब एक और ईमानदार फॉरेस्ट अफसर आर गोकुल ने कर्नाटक के बिलिकेरे बंदरगाह पर 8 लाख टन का लौह अयस्क अवैध रुप से पड़ा हुआ देखा। उन्होंने तत्काल विभिन्न कंपनियों और रेड्डी बंधुओं पर केस दर्ज कर दिया। नतीजतन, जैसे 35 लाख टन लौह अयस्क गायब हुआ, आर गोकुल को भी दफ्तर से गायब कर दिया गया। सूत्र कहते हैं कि उन्हें गायब किया रेड्डी बंधुओं के खास व्यक्ति यानी पर्यावरण मंत्री जे कृष्णा पालेमर ने। इस मंत्री ने उस ईमानदार अधिकारी को निलंबित कर दिया।

लोकायुक्त ने कसी नकेल
लोकायुक्त संतोष हेगड़े हमेशा ईमानदार अधिकारियों का पक्ष लेते रहे हैं। उन्होंने मामले में दखल दिया और कर्नाटक सरकार को रेड्डी बंधुओं पर नकेल कसने को कहा। अब भला येद्दियुरप्पा की क्या हिम्मत कि वे रेड्डी बंधुओं के खिलाफ कुछ कर सकें, उन्होंने मामले को लटकाना शुरू कर दिया। खुद येद्दियुरप्पा भले ही कितने भी ईमानदार हों, रेड्डी बंधुओं के दबाव में उन्हें उनके मनचाहे मंत्री और अफसर रखने/हटाने पड़ते थे। पूर्व मुख्यमंत्री और वर्तमान मुख्यमंत्री को पता है कि जिस दिन रेड्डी बंधुओं का बाल भी बांका हुआ, उसी दिन कर्नाटक सरकार गिर जाएगी, जैसे रेड्डी बंधुओं से पंगा लेने पर कुमार स्वामी की सरकार गिर गई थी। बार-बार आग्रह करने के बावजूद जब कर्नाटक सरकार ने हेगड़े की बातों और सुझावों पर अमल नहीं किया तो हताश और निराश हेगड़े ने लोकायुक्त पद से त्यागपत्र दे दिया। लोकायुक्त के त्यागपत्र से राज्य की राजनीति में फिर हलचल आई। कांग्रेस-जद (एस) को मुद्दा मिा और उन्होंने विधानसभा में धरना दे दिया।

जस्टिस हेगड़े ने मुख्यत: इस बात की ओर ध्यान आकर्षित करवाया कि समुद्र तट से मीलों दूर अवैध खदानों में अवैध खनन हो रहा है। खदान से बंदरगाह तक पहुंचने के बीच कम से कम 7 जगह प्रमुख चेक पोस्ट आती हैं, लेकिन किसी भी चेक पोस्ट पर लौह अयस्क ले जा रहे एक भी ट्रक की एंट्री नहीं है, ऐसा तभी संभव है जब पूरी की पूरी मशीनरी भ्रष्टाचार में सनी हुई हो। जस्टिस हेगड़े ने अपने बयान में कहा है कि 35 लाख टन अयस्क की तस्करी रातों रात होना संभव ही नहीं है, यह पिछले कई वर्षों से जारी रही है।

सरकार ने कहा, कानून अपना काम करेगा
खनन कारोबारी और भाजपा के पूर्व मंत्री जी जनार्दन रेड्डी और उनके साले को कर्नाटक में सीबीआई द्वारा गिरफ्तार किये जाने के बीच सरकार ने कहा कि इस मामले में कानून अपना काम करेगा। संसदीय कार्य राज्यमंत्री राजीव शुक्ला ने कहा, आप सभी जानते हैं कि सरकार सीबीआई के कामकाज में हस्तक्षेप नहीं करती है। सीबीआई इस मामले की जांच कर रही है और वह अपनी जांच के अनुरूप आगे बढ़ रही होगी। शुक्ला ने कहा कि जहां तक बेल्लारी बंधुओं का सवाल है, कानून अपना काम करेगा।

तब आएं चर्चा में.... जब 800 हीरों से जड़ा मुकुट चढ़ाया
रेड्डी बंधुओं ने श्रीकलाहस्ती मंदिर में 800 हीरों से जड़ा एक मुकुट (वज्र किरीटम) और स्वर्ण जड़ित एक साड़ी (बंगारु चीर) चढ़ाई तो इस खबर को पढ़ने-सुनने वालों के लिए आश्चर्य का ठिकाना नहीं रहा। उस चढ़ावे की कीमत लोग 10 से 15 करोड़ रुपये के बीच लगा रहे। बताया कि गया 800 हीरे जुड़ित मुकुट को दक्षिण अफ्रीका से बनवाकर लाया गया था। इसके अलावा गहने में लगभग 13 किलो सोने का इस्तेमाल हुआ बताया गया था। तब रेड्डी बंधुओं ने बताया था कि उन्होंने श्रद्धा से वशीभूत होकर यह भेंट चढ़ाई है। कीमत पूछने पर कहा था कि श्रद्धा की कीमत पैसे में नहीं लगाई जा सकती है। वर्ष 2009 में भी रेड्डी बंधुओं ने तिरुपति के भगवान वेंकटेश्वर मंदिर में हीरे जड़ित मुकुट चढ़ाई थी, जिसकी कीमत 45 करोड़ रुपये में आंकी गई थी।

ये है जलवा
2 करोड़ 20 लाख की सोने की कुर्सी पर बैठते हैं
2 करोड़ 58 लाख कीमत की भगवान की प्रतिमा
13 लाख 15 हजार का बेल्ट पहनते हैं
उड़ने के लिए चार हेलिकॉप्टर
खाने के लिए 21 लाख को वर्तन
31 लाख की मासिक वेतन
215 करोड़ विदेशों में जमा
संजय स्वदेश