Ex-Andhra Bank official sent to jail in loan fraud case

A former Andhra Bank director has been sent to judicial custody (JC) by a court here following his arrest and interrogation in connection with a money laundering probe in an alleged Rs 5,000-crore bank fraud case involving a Gujarat-based pharma firm.

Additional Sessions Judge Sidharth Sharma sent Anup Prakash Garg to custody for two weeks when he was produced before the court after his nine-day custodial interrogation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Special Public Prosecutor Nitesh Rana, appearing for the ED, told the court that the accused was not required further by the probe agency and he be remanded in JC.

Garg was held by ED on January 12, the second arrest in the case after the agency took into custody Delhi-based businessman Gagan Dhawan in November last year.

Garg was arrested under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He was named as an accused in the case by the ED as well as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The ED had lodged the money laundering case after taking cognisance of an earlier FIR registered by the CBI.

The agency had said that during the probe, it came across “certain entries” in a diary seized by the Income Tax department in 2011, which showed various cash payments amounting to Rs 1.52 crore made to one “Mr Garg, Director, Andhra Bank” by the Sandesara brothers between 2008 and 2009.

The CBI had booked Sterling Biotech, its directors Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara, Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Vilas Joshi, chartered accountant Hemant Hathi, Garg and some unidentified persons in connection with the case.

It had alleged that the company took loans of over Rs 5,000 crore from a consortium led by Andhra Bank, which turned into non-performing assets.

The FIR had also alleged that the total pending dues of the group companies were Rs 5,383 crore as on December 31, 2016.

ED raids Karti Chidambaram’s premises in Delhi and Chennai

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) today conducted searches at multiple premises linked to Karti Chidambaram, the son of Congress leader P Chidambaram, in connection with its money laundering probe in the Aircel- Maxis case.

Official sources said the raids are being conducted in Delhi and Chennai since early morning.

The central probe agency, on December 1 last year, had conducted similar searches on the premises of a relative of Karti and others in this case.

The ED case pertains to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval granted in 2006 by the then finance minister P Chidambaram.

The agency had said it is investigating the circumstances of the said FIPB approval granted by the then finance minister (P Chidambaram)”.

The ED also alleged that Karti has “disposed” of a property in Gurgaon, which he had allegedly rented out to a multinational company “to whom foreign direct investment (FDI) approval had been granted in 2013”.

It charged that Karti had “also closed certain bank accounts and attempted to close other bank accounts in order to frustrate the process of attachment” under the PMLA.

The agency said FIPB approval in the Aircel-Maxis FDI case was granted in March, 2006 by the then FM even though he was competent to accord approval on project proposals only up to Rs 600 crore and beyond that it required the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).

“In the instant case, the approval for FDI of 800 million USD (over Rs 3,500 crore) was sought. Hence, CCEA was competent to grant approval.

“However, approval was not obtained from CCEA,” it alleged.

Source : PTI

Supreme Court ruling on money laundering probe Monday

The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce Monday its verdict on a plea that a special investigation team (SIT) probe the alleged money laundering by suspected tax evader Hasan Ali Khan and Kolkata based-businessman Kashinath Tapuria, among others.

The plea by jurist Ram Jethmalani also sought a direction to the central government to disclose names, given to it by the German authorities, of Indian citizens who allegedly laundered money to LGT bank in Liechtenstein – a principality in Europe bordering Switzerland and Austria.

Jethmalani earlier told the apex court bench of Justice B. Sudershan Reddy and Justice S.S. Nijjar that he did not expect much from the high-level committee the government has set up to oversee the investigation by various agencies into money laundering.

The government constituted the committee under the chairmanship of secretary, department of revenue.

Its members are deputy director Reserve Bank of India, directors of the Intelligence Bureau, the Enforcement Directorate, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), director generals of the Narcotic Control Bureau and Revenue Intelligence, director of the financial intelligence unit, and joint secretary of CBDT.

The chairman of the committee was mandated to report to the apex court on the investigations carried out by various departments.

Besides the money laundering case involving huge amounts of black money stashed away in tax havens abroad, the apex court’s first day after summer recess will witness 28 judgments being delivered. The summer break started May 16.

The apex court bench of Justice V.S. Sirpurkar and Justice T.S. Thakur are likely to pronounce a verdict on the plea of Haryana politicians Abhay and Ajay Chautala challenging their prosecution by the CBI in a disproportionate assets case relating to the period when they were members of state assembly from June 2000 to March 2005.

The Chautala brothers have challenged the institution of the corruption case against them on the grounds that the investigating agency initiated the proceedings without taking prior sanction of the speaker of the assembly.

Both Abhay and Ajay Chautala are at present members of the assembly and are grandsons of the former deputy prime minister Devi Lal. Their father Om Prakash Chautala is a former chief minister of Haryana.

The case related to admission of students under the reserved category of other backward classes (OBC) in central educational institutions, particularly in Delhi University and the Jawaharlal Nehru University, would also come up Monday.

This matter would be heard by the bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice A.K. Patnaik. A petitioner has sought a uniform policy for the admission of OBC students under the reserved category.

The bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Cyriac Joseph would hear a petition by the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party challenging the Jammu and Kashmir and central governments’ policy of allowing the return and rehabilitation of former militants from Pakistani Kashmir.