Tuesday, March 15, 2011

2G scam: Foreign funds traced to at least 6 countries ,ED Tells Supreme Court 31 Firms Have Come Under Scanner

New Delhi: Enforcement Directorate (ED) told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that multicrore foreign transactions relating to the 2G spectrum scam have been traced to at least six countries and 31 firms have come under the scanner.
The agency placed its latest status report of its investigation in the scam in a sealed envelop before a bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly in which it has mentioned that it is seeking the help of foreign authorities in tracking the source of money.
Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for ED, said that that Letters Rogatory have been sent to Singapore, Cyprus, Jersey and Virgin Islands in connection with the 2G spectrum scam. Similar communications were being sent to two more countries. He said that 31 companies have so far been summoned and statements of 26 companies have been recorded.
He said that some hawala operators were also involved in the scam and their premises were raided and they were questioned by the ED. Venugopal did not reveal the names of individuals and companies mentioned in the report. He said day to day details of transactions in a bank account have been mentioned in the report as the account holder had failed to explain the source of Rs 2.5 crore lying with him. He has been asked to submit the documents.
ED in its report also mentioned that after granting licence, a person sold his equity in the company and he made huge monetary gains which has traced to Mauritius. It said that a person has paid Rs 100 crore for liasioning. The Court after going through the report says that prima facie there seems to be violation of law of the land.
“Networks are vast. Their connections are in many countries and prima facie there is a violation of law of land,” the court said. It asked ED about how many people are involved in investigating the scam. The ED said that there are four teams which are involved in cracking the case.
During the hour-long proceeding, the agency also sought the court's intervention to restrain the media from questioning its credentials in the case by making “baseless” allegations against it. The agency referred to media reports in which it was said that its chief A K Mathur was trying to scuttle the probe on the direction of the Finance Ministry. Expressing satisfaction over the probe done by the ED, the bench such reports “deserve to be ignored”.
“The matter is serious. Court would protect everyone. It is not proper to indulge in character assasination,” the court said while adjourning the case for tomorrow for further arguments in the case. The court was hearing a petition filed by an NGO Centre for PIL on whose plea CBI probe was ordered by the apex court. PTI

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