31 firms issued summons in 2G scam: ED

The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that the money trail of the 2G spectrum allocation transactions was traced to six countries, and their links to foreign bank accounts were established.

The ED gave the information in its latest status report submitted to a Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly, examining the petition on the scam.

Senior counsel K.K. Venugopal submitted the reports of the ED and the CBI in sealed covers. The Bench initially took the ED's report for consideration. Without disclosing the names of the beneficiaries, Mr. Venugopal said 31 companies had so far been issued summons, and 26 of them were examined. One company sought further time. Four summonses returned, and fresh ones were being issued. Letters Rogatory were sent to Singapore, Cyprus, Jersey, the Virgin Islands and two other countries. The investigation also revealed that some hawala operators were involved in the scam, and their premises were raided and they were questioned by the ED.

Mr. Venugopal said the day-to-day details of the transactions in a bank account had been mentioned in the report as the account holder had failed to explain the source of Rs. 2.5 crore lying with him. He was asked to submit the documents.

Reading out the report, he said that in one instance, a person sold his equity in the company after he was granted licence, making huge monetary gains, which were traced to Mauritius.

A person had paid Rs. 100 crore for liaison.

Justice Singhvi told counsel: “Prima facie there seems to be [a] violation of the law of the land. Networks are vast. Their connections are in many countries.” Mr. Venugopal said the investigation revealed that besides violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, there was forgery of documents and various offences under the Indian Penal Code had been committed through the transaction of money sent to foreign banks. In one instance, once the companies came to know that they shared the amount, one of them converted it into a loan. Later, this money was transferred to a Mauritius account.

Earlier, Mr. Venugopal brought to the court's notice reports appearing in a magazine making reckless allegations against the CBI and the ED and sought court protection.

Justice Singhvi said: “Such reports deserve to be ignored with contempt. The matter is serious. The court would protect everyone. It is not proper to indulge in character assassination. The media must report the proceedings properly.”

The Bench posted the matter to Wednesday for considering the CBI's status report. It asked Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati to be present when the court considers counsel Prashant Bhushan's plea for appointment of a team to examine the CBI's investigation so far.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 1:33:16 PM |

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