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Kejriwal Live: Jet Airways, Burmans also deny allegations

by FP Staff  Nov 9, 2012 17:30 IST

#Arvind Kejriwal   #Corruption   #NewsTracker  

5:35 pm: Jet Airways, Dabur group deny allegations

Jet Airways has also issued a statement denying that its chairman Naresh Goyal had an account in a Swiss bank, CNN-IBN reported.

The Burman family which owns the Dabur group has also said that Burman family members had opened the accounts while they were NRIs and it was not illegal, ANI reported:

5:15 pm: ADAG group also denies Kejriwal's allegations

CNN IBN reported Reliance-ADAG group has also denied the allegations levelled by Kejriwal  and said the group's chairman Anil Ambani has no bank accounts in HSBC, Geneva

The company also said that the charges levelled by Kejriwal baseless and motivated by vested interests.

5:00 pm: Reliance  Industries denies allegations levelled by Kejriwal

Reliance Industries Limited has responded to the allegations leveled against the company's chairman Mukesh Ambani and said that there were no illegal accounts anywhere.

Reliance and Mukesh Ambani had no accounts with HSBC in Geneva, the company said in a statement

"Our accounts are disclosed in appropriate jurisdictions," the company said

The company said that Mukesh Ambani didn't have illegitimate accounts anywhere in the world. However, the company said that some of its subsidiaries dealt with many banks including HSBC.

The company accused India Against Corruption's allegations of being motivated by vested interests.

3:40 pm: Kejriwal  gets no love from Subramanian Swamy

Kejriwal may have many fans but not one in Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy. This is what the self proclaimed anti-corruption crusader had to say when asked about Kejriwal's allegations:

3:30 pm: Anna demands judicial probe, Congress refuses to comment

Anna Hazare has also commented on the issues raised by Kejriwal and said that the government should conduct a probe in the matter.

"It is bad that the government targets small people but does nothing against prominent people. Not just a government probe but a judicial probe should be carried ou in the matter," Hazare said, upon his return to the national capital from Assam.

Congress' V Narayanasamy instead chose to avoid the press and refused to comment on the allegations.

3:15 pm: Congress MP Anu Tandon denies Kejriwal's allegations, says they're baseless

Anu Tandon, Congress MP and accused by Kejriwal of stashing funds illegally in a Swiss bank account, has denied the allegations and said they were completely baseless.

"The allegations are completely baseless and defamatory," Tandon told IBN7, adding that she condemned it.

"I had gone to the Congress meeting and have just learnt of the allegations...I feel saddened that instead of doing something to benefit the nation we are speaking about lowly matters," she said.

I don't want to waste my time responding to such charges she said, adding that Kejriwal was perhaps seeking publicity by making such allegations.

"I am a member of parliament and have been chosen by the Congress. Sonia-ji and Rahul-ji are my leaders and the Congress is together in doing what is right," she said.

She refused to comment on allegations that Kejriwal had made against her husband.

3:05 pm: Kejriwal takes to Twitter to continue attack

Kejriwal may have ended his press conference but has taken to Twitter to continue his attack and defend his latest set of allegations:

2:55 pm: BJP  backs Kejriwal, says government should probe matter and clarify on black money

The BJP, jumping to action, has demanded a probe into the matter.

"There is a link to black money and we would like to say that in the last four years we have raised this matter officially continuously," Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.

The country's PM had also said that in 100 days they will bring back black money and then the government said that there was no evidence of it in international bank accounts, the BJP leader said.

"One doesn't know whose names are there and whose names are not," he said.

"It is a matter of concern and should be probed. How an international reputed bank takes money and deposits it in international accounts is a matter of concern...The government should clarify on this issue," he said.

He said the Prime Minister should clarify on the issue.

2:45 pm: HSBC refuses to comment on Kejriwal's allegations

HSBC is the first of the blocks to respond to the charges.

According to CNN IBN, the head of the bank's Indian operations has said that they would not like to comment presently on the matter.

The official has said that the bank will consult with its head office before responding to the allegations and decising on the future course of action.

2:40 pm: Kejriwal questions delay in launching probe against HSBC

"I was given an excel sheet in which the details were there...What I received was not an official document. I have received just these few names. We have verified the names with many sources," Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal highlights the fact the US government has taken action against the banks and questioned why the Indian government has not taken action.

"I am saying there should be inquiry....Based on these three statements of people arrested there is prima facie enough evidence to make arrests in this case and launch criminal prosecution," he said.

Kejriwal also questioned why the government gave the information about the HSBC accounts to the account holders and others instead of Parliament. He urged Parliamentarians to question the Congress-led UPA government over the matter and possibly initiate action accordingly

And thats the end of the press conference. Now to wait for the reactions. And we can expect many of those in this case.

2:36 pm: Kejriwal  says he doesn't believe earlier reports about innocence

Kejriwal was dismissive of reports that there was no evidence of guilt on the part of the banks or the corporates he had named.

"I want to hear what the government has to say about these allegations. Let them prove me wrong," Kejriwal said.

Meanwhile, here's RIL's response to the allegations levelled against their chief by Kejriwal. NDTV's Barkha Dutt tweeted:

2:35 pm: Full text of IAC press release

Here are the full list of documents that have been released by India Against Corruption (full list here)

Press release text:

The present CBI Director once said that more than $ 500 billion of Indian black money was stashed abroad. A major chunk of this money is believed to be lying in Swiss banks in Switzerland. Would this money every come back to India? Developments of the last few years have given a ray of hope that if Indian Government acted tough like its US counterpart did a few years back, India also might get access to the list of those having their undeclared accounts abroad. However, Indian government seems to be more interested in helping the guilty rather than punishing them.

In July 2011, Indian Government received a list of roughly 700 people having bank accounts in HSBC, Geneva. The list contains bank balances of these people in 2006. We could not access all the names but the following names do appear in that list:

Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambai – Rs 100 crores

Anil Dhirubhai Ambani – Rs 100 crores

Motech Software Private Ltd (Reliance Group company) – Rs 2,100 crores

Reliance Industries Ltd – Rs 500 crores

Sandeep Tandon – Rs 125 crores

Anu Tandon – Rs 125 crores

Kokila Dhirubhai Ambani – She has an account but there was no balance on that date

Naresh Kumar Goyal – Rs 80 crores

Burmans (3 family members) – Rs 25 crores

Yashovardhan Birla – no balance

 

2:30 pm: We want to open the eyes of the people, says Bhushan

Bhushan said that the case pertained not just to tax evasion but illegal hawala transactions as well.

"It is not just about tax evasion but about illegal financial transactions through hawala, under which the penalty is twice the money handled," Bhushan said.

He accused the government of not taking action against big corporates in the 2G scam.

"We want to open the eyes of the people that they should see what is happening in the nation and what can happen if this is not stopped immediately," he said

2:25 pm: Bhushan quotes from SC judgement

The Supreme Court has made numerous observations against the government over the handling of black money held in international accounts, Bhushan said.

He pointed out that the court had observed that the governmental agencies had failed to act over black money which could be used for illegal accounts. A case in point, he said, was that of businessman Hasan Ali from Pune who was accused of stashing away crores in foreign accounts.

2:15 pm: Kejriwal wants bank employees to quit, Bhushan says they're showing systemic corruption

Kejriwal also appealed to the employees of banks like HSBC and UBS to quit because of the operations of their employers, which he said was illegal and harming the country. Any bankers out there who'd like to share their thoughts on this?

He accused the government of failing to curb the flow of illegal money from the country to Swiss bank accounts and then back to the country.

"Money is illegally being sent out through hawala being carried out by HSBC and is then brought back in the form of FII investments," he said, adding that senior bank officials should be arrested.

Prashant Bhushan then took the mike and said they weren't targeting individuals but a systemic problem in the country.

"The HSBC accounts are a small part of illegal accounts held by Indians abroad," Bhushan said.

The allegations today prove the allegations made in the last press conference that crony capitalists were on top of the system and controlling it, he said.

He also quoted the Supreme Court judgement on black money and its impact on the nation's economy.

2:10 pm: Kejriwal glosses over tax collected, wants Swiss banks shut down

Maybe Kejriwal's glossing over the fact but the Indian government has already told Parliament that taxes had been collected from those who had foreign bank accounts. And they collected Rs 180 crore incidentally.(Read the statement here) 

Kejriwal's also painting a grim picture of the workings of HSBC.

HSBC inside the country are giving an impetus to all kinds of illegal activities, he said, accusing even terrorists of being able to send money to the country illegally.

"But it's not us who are saying that, it is a US report that is saying it," Kejriwal said.

The government has conducted a probe against HSBC but gave them a clean chit, he said, expectedly saying that it was a lie.

"According to the statements of the three persons raided, it is evident that there is hawala and black money transactions are taking place....The US government says that such risks are there but the Indian government refuses to accept it, this is because the Indian government is sold out," he said.

Kejriwal says that the government can shut down banks like UBS and HSBC for their illegal transactions but won't do so due to the fact that the government officials had money stashed away there

"HSBC senior officials should be arrested right now...the operations they have made India vulnerable, they should also face terrorism charges," he said.

He also wants the two banks branches to be shut down in India. Perhaps it is also time for him to lawyer up. He can expect a lot of lawsuits coming his way soon. The good part is he has eminent lawyer Prashant Bhushan on his side already.

2:00 pm: Kejriwal wants each bank transaction and IT raids on corporates

"All the debit entries in each of the Swiss bank accounts should be explained....Mukesh Ambani, Naresh Goyal and others should be asked to explain the complete trail of money to and from their accounts," Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal demands that IT should raid the offices of Mukesh Ambani, Yashodhan Birla and other corporate bodies and parallel investigations be carried out by the Enforcement Directorate, he said. And yes, only honest officers should be in charge of this.

"They should be asked to explain each transaction and if there is hawala or money laundering then they should be arrested," Kejriwal said.

According to Kejriwal, the government has failed to take action against those guilty and has allegedly aided them in attempting to escape the law by providing an amnesty scheme to those who have funds in international bank accounts.

1:50 pm: Kejriwal explains Swiss bank transactions, asks Pranab why Ambanis weren't raided

Kejriwal gives a detailed description of how a Swiss bank is opened, operated and handled. He has a point though, it seems a much easier operation than Indian banks.

On a serious note though, the banks seem to have been using hawala to get funds to accounts. He's also accused HSBC of helping people open accounts in Swiss banks and also indulging in hawala transactions.

"However, the IT raids were only conducted on small people. Why wasn't there a raid on Mukesh Ambani, Anil Ambani, Naresh Goyal, Burmans or Yashodhan Birla?" Kejriwal said.

Pranab Mukherjee, who's now the President but was the Finance Minister at the time, should explain why the IT did not take action against the others, he said.

He also accused the Swiss Finance Ministry of offering to pay in order to keep the peace.  This he says was told to him by Finance Ministry officials. And he reserves his strongest allegation for HSBC bank.

"HSBC is indulging in money laundering and hawala transactions in the country," Kejriwal said.

1:45 pm: Kejriwal accuses Indian government of letting guilty off the hook

The activist turned politician accused the Indian government is attempting to let them off the hook.

In June 2011, three people were raided by the IT after the information was received by the government, Kejriwal said.

All three had been raided and instantly declared that they had indeed stashed away funds in Swiss banks, Kejriwal said, adding that he was releasing their statements to the Income Tax as well.

"The documents show that it is easier to open a Swiss bank account than in SBI," he said.

Kejriwal's statements are bound to create ripples in the ongoing Congress meeting on in Surajkund as well. It's certain that Sonia Gandhi might want to know who are the two ministers in her party that are in touch with Kejriwal. And who gave the current lead to him.

1:40 pm: 600 crore stashed away in Swiss accounts

Anu Tandon, his wife is a core group member of Rahul Gandhi's team and also had an account in a Swiss bank with funds in it.

"Does she have her own money, Reliance Industries money or Rahul Gandhi's money cannot be said," Kejriwal said.

"Kokilaben Ambani also had an account but had no money in it," he said.

80 crore was present in one account of Jet Airways' Naresh Goyal, the Burmans of Dabur group had accounts as well, Kejriwal said.

1:35 pm: Kejriwal to speak on Swiss banks, black money and economic sovereignity

Kejriwal's press conference is going to be about black money stashed away in Swiss banks and economic sovereignity.

"We are going to present some documents that show that money from Swiss banks can come back to India but it won't happen because the Indian government doesn't want it to happen," Kejriwal said

500 billion dollars is in Swiss banks according to the CBI director, he said

According to documents there are 700 persons with Swiss bank accounts.

"Mukesh Ambani had 100 crore in a Swiss bank account, Anil Ambani has 100 crore," he said.

He also spoke of Reliance Industries, a former IT official Sandeep Tandon who had raided the Reliance Industries office at one point, who had accounts and funds in Swiss banks.

1:30 pm: And here we go

Kejriwal begins the press conference and says it is a continuing saga against corruption.

"There is a battle between Congress and BJP now...In the recent cabinet reshuffle one man who became a minister sent me an SMS telling me to continue the fight against Robert Vadra. I was surprised by this," he said.

The data we are about to expose was given to us by a senior Congress leader, he said.

1:10 pm: Could he have picked a better time to hold the press conference?

As Firstpost's Anant Rangaswami points out, by choosing a Friday to hold his press conference, Kejriwal may have lost out on some of his audience.

Read more here.

Kejriwal has left for the press conference and its now just a waiting game.

However, he has refused to disclose who his next target will be before leaving.

When asked if he was conducting too many press conferences Kejriwal said,"Even if we hold a press conference daily it isn't enough to expose the corruption that has spread in the country."

He also chose to hit out at Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who had made some strong comments about the Opposition, and said she should instead take more steps to tackle the corruption in the nation.

1:00 pm: Who is Kejriwal's next target?

First it was Robert Vadra, then came BJP president Nitin Gadkari and after that he went after Reliance Industries. Activist turned politician Arvind Kejriwal is all set to announce another set of charges against a presumably prominent personality in Delhi today and has left even his followers guessing on who it could be.

Who will the activist turned politician target next? Reuters

Having taken on the highest and mightiest in the political and corporate worlds, all eyes are on Kejriwal to see if he can match his previous campaigns.

According to sources, the most likely target is likely to be a corporate body and possible favours it received from a political party.

The second and unlikely target could be the judiciary, or former members who could be accused of benefiting due to political links. The possibility is low however, given the fact that Kejriwal has shown no interest in going to court over the allegations he has been leveling.

The third and unlikeliest target could be someone from the media, said sources. But given he has not taken on the media in the past, they don’t believe it is likely he would go after them.

However, India Against Corruption and Kejriwal have remained mum on their next target and in a tersely worded invitation to the press conference the group have only revealed that they will make more revelations about corruption.

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