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Head of inter ministerial committee heading other high profile cases too


New Delhi: Vivek R Wadekar, a 1991 batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer, will head the inter-ministerial committee constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to coordinate the investigations into the violation of legal provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, Income-Tax Act, Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act etc., by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust.

Wadekar chaired the inter-ministerial committee at the ED office on Thursday. The committee included representatives from the ministries, MHA and CBI.

Wadekar, as Special Director in the Enforcement Directorate (ED), who heads the Central zone, is the highest supervisory of a number of high-profile cases, including the Rs 3,600- crore AgustaWestland chopper deal, the money laundering probe against Moin Qureshi, the Ratul Puri bank fraud case and the Religare Enterprises case, among others.

In the AgustaWestland chopper deal, the agency has already filed supplementary charge sheets and is likely to file another charge sheet. ED is investigating charges of money laundering and the shell companies used by the accused to route kickbacks allegedly paid to VVIPs to swing the deal in favour of M/s AgustaWestland.

Wadekar is also supervising the money laundering probe against meat exporter Moin Qureshi.

The ED had, last year, arrested Satish Babu Sana, a Hyderabad-based businessman whose written complaint in October 2018, had led to the registration of a corruption case against the CBI’s erstwhile second-in-command Rakesh Asthana. The “witness” in the case (Sana) was made an accused.

The bank fraud of Rs 787 crores (appox) allegedly involving Ratul Puri, nephew of the former MP chief minister Kamal Nath is also being supervised by Wadekar. Besides Puri, his father and mother are also booked in the bank fraud case.

Besides these cases, Wadekar is also supervising the investigation into the money laundering charges against erstwhile promoters of Religare Enterprises Limited (REL) Malvinder Mohan Singh and Shivinder Singh. The duo are currently in judicial custody. In its charge sheet filed in January, ED had alleged that Malvinder and Shivinder Singh used multiple conduit companies to siphon off public funds.

The special director is also overseeing the probe, on the Supreme Court’s order, into the financial fraud committed by the Amrapali Group, which included alleged diversion of money of over 42,000 homebuyers.

The three trusts which have come under scanner are linked to the Nehru-Gandhi family. The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation was set up in June 1991, while the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust was set up in 2002.

The Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust is already being probed by the CBI for the alleged arbitrary release of land to it by the then Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government in Haryana.

In November 2017, the Supreme Court ordered a CBI probe into the alleged arbitrary release of land to the Trust in violation of a policy to set up an eye hospital. A CBI probe was ordered into the Hooda government’s decision to initiate acquisition of 1,400 acres in Gurugram of which only 87 acres of land was eventually acquired.

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