New Delhi: Biju Janata Dal MP Bhartruhari Mahtab today raised the alleged money laundering and FEMA violation issue of former BJD parliamentarian Baijayant Panda.
Raising the issue of black money referring Baijayant Panda case, in the Lok Sabha, Mahatab said, “Recently it has come out in the paper that Indian passport holder did not take the approval of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) before the company in which the person, his wife and his family friends controlling beneficial interest opened bank account in the tax heaven in Bahamas.”
“Panda’s defence is that he was neither an overseas student nor an NRI at the relevant time , therefore need not required RBI approval or Government approval before opening the account. Did he declare the account to RBI once he returns to India? Mahatab asked.
Steeping up his attack on the black money, Mahatab further asked that whether Baijayant Panda has intimated the RBI or Central Government while closing the account and did he repatriate the entire amount held in these foreign bank accounts as is required in the law?
Demanding the action against Panda, Mahatab said, “If Panda did not inform RBI or Central Government about his accounts in the foreign banks, he is liable for criminal prosecution under several several Indian laws relating to foreign exchange violation and money laundering.”
Mahatab also criticised the role of BJP Government’s role in handling entire issue.
“The Senior law maker of BJP known as trouble shooter has said recently that the State Government should take action. I would like to know from the government what steps the union government has taken in this regard. Is it still at investigation stage? How long will it take? Why BJP is accusing Odisha Government when BJP led union government is supposed to take action at union level?” Mahatab said.
In a sensational report, the English daily "The Indian Express" on friday reported that the Income Tax department has received a complaint alleging money laundering and tax evasion by former Biju Janata Dal MP and Odisha industrialist Baijayant Jay Panda, his wife and associates.
The English daily claimed that the Bahamas registrar of companies, Finlay, Messina and Pikika were incorporated in June 1993, January 1995 and March 2003 respectively by agent Corporate Services International Limited at the same address in Nassau, Bahamas, with proxy office bearers.
Between 1995 and 2007, the three Bahamas companies Finlay, Messina and Pikika invested – directly and through their India subsidiaries MS Telecom Ltd and Calorex Holdings Private Ltd – in Ortel a total of Rs 17.72 crore not only in equity but also in preference shares and by extending loans, the English daily claimed.
According to The Indian Express report, Manjula Devi Shroff was a director in both MS Telecom and Calorex.
According to The Indian Express report, the Panda family picked up the Ortel equity shares acquired for Rs 9.46 crore by the three Bahamas entities and their two Indian subsidiaries through the family-owned Panda Investments Private Limited and Metro Skynet Limited at almost one-sixth the cost of acquisition for Rs 1.68 crore in cash.