Black money: Kejriwal targets Ambani brothers, Naresh Goyal

NEW DELHI (TIP): In his latest round of allegations, Arvind Kejriwal today targeted multinational HSBC Bank accusing it of indulging in money laundering and claimed Ambani brothers,Naresh Goyal and Congress MP Annu Tandonhad parked their blackmoney in its Genevabranch.

Addressing a press conference, Kejriwal and lawyer Prashant Bhushan alleged around Rs 6,000 crore blackmoney was lying in 700 accounts of the Geneva branch of the bank.

They claimed that people who had deposited “small amounts of money” in the bank were raided but “big fish” like Mukesh and Anil Ambani, Naresh Goyal ( Jet Airways), Tandon and Burmans (Anand, Pradeep and Ratan) of Dabur were “let off” at the behest of the government.

The activists claimed that the Ambani brothers had Rs 100 crore each, Reliance Group’s Motech Software Rs 2,100 crore, late Sandeep and Annu Tandon Rs 125 crore each, Naresh Goyal Rs 80 crore and Dabur’s Burman brothers Rs 25 crore in the list of around 700 people having accounts in HSBC as of 2006.

Spokesmen for HSBC and Burman brothers declined to comment while Tandon called the allegations “utterly baseless and motivated”.

Rejecting the allegations, Mukesh Ambani-headed Reliance Industries Ltd said neither RIL or Mukesh have or had any “illegitimate” accounts anywhere in the world.

“As part of normal business, international subsidiaries of RIL deal with several global banks including HSBC. These accounts are fully complain with all regulations and are disclosed in their appropriate jurisdictions and in India.
“The continued tirade of baseless allegations being made by IAC against us appears to be instigated by vested interests,” an RIL statement said.

RIL sources referred to an HSBC statement of January this year in which the Bank had apologised to Mukesh Ambani for putting the name in the list of beneficiary account holders.

The two activists of India Against Corruption (IAC) also alleged that the UPA government underManmohan Singh was “sold out” and it is the “biggest danger” as it is surrendering economic sovereignty of the country.
They expressed fears that terrorists in Pakistan or criminals can exploit the method of money transfer in HSBC for their activities in India.

Though they do not have “official documents” with regard to the businessmen holding accounts, Kejriwal claimed they checked with several sources after receiving an input from a Congress leader, who was inducted into the government in the recent cabinet reshuffle.

He also provided statements of three persons, whose names appeared in the list and questioned by Income Tax officials, in which they have told interrogators that HSBC facilitated them opening accounts without them going to Geneva. The money was handed to over to an agent here and whenever, they wanted to withdraw they used to contact a person in Geneva and the amount was delivered in India, he alleged. “There is no physical transfer of money. This is money laundering. The statements by the three persons reveal that HSBCis openly and brazenly running a hawala racket in India. “These statements are enough to arrest HSBC officials. Their operations should be immediately suspended as it is a fit case for charging them under sedition and waging war against India,” Kejriwal said. Alleging that only about 125 of the 700 persons named in the list were raided, Kejriwal sought to question the rationale behind the pick and choose policy of the government in excluding the big fish from the raids. Denying the allegations, Tandon, who was the Managing Director of Motech Software, said “you go and ask him on what he is making such allegations. I don’t think he has anything to prove this.”

Ambanis deny allegations

The Ambani brothers today rejected allegations by Arvind Kejriwal that they had parked blackmoney in HSBC Bank in Geneva and denied that they had any accounts there.

Strongly denying the allegations, Mukesh Ambani-headed Reliance Industries Ltd said neither RIL or Mukesh have or had any “illegitimate” accounts anywhere in the world.

“As part of normal business, international subsidiaries of RIL deal with several global banks including HSBC. These accounts are fully complain with all regulations and are disclosed in their appropriate jurisdictions and in India. “The continued tirade of baseless allegations being made by IAC against us appears to be instigated by vested interests,” an RIL statement said.

In a separate statement, the Anil Ambani-headed Reliance Group categorically denied all allegations made by Kejriwal against him. “Mr Anil D Ambani had no bank accounts with HSBC in Geneva,” it said. The Reliance Group statement said it is “regrettable that such baseless allegations are being made by IAC at the behest of vested interests”.

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