HP Congress CM Candidate Virbhadra Singh caught in a new Scam

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Daredevil, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    The 'VBS mystery' solved!

    If payments are being made to the steel ministry officials and its PSUs under the CMD account, it is not difficult for any investigator to decipher the identity of 'VBS'.

    News items appearing in the media have highlighted the fact that the Income Tax department raided a steel manufacturing company and accounts of certain payments made by it to different departments of the government and individuals have been reflected therein.

    The payments relate to the years 2007 to 2010. There are extensive payments to the staff of the Ministry of Steel. Amounts are stated to be spent on various public sector undertakings attached to the Ministry of Steel and to certain individuals allegedly holding key positions in the government.

    A news item appearing in the leading national daily has highlighted the most disturbing entry namely the amount Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcemnet Directorate spend on staff. There are details of five different payments made to an entity referred to as 'VBS' during the period 2009-10. Who is this VBS? Were the payments made to VBS political?

    The then Minister of Steel, Virbhadra Singh has denied that the entry 'VBS' refers to him. He has alleged that he writes his initials as 'VS' and not 'VBS'. He has pleaded ignorance about this entry and alleged that BJP could be behind this exposure.

    Virbhadra Singh is wrong on all counts. The issue is not whether he refers to himself as 'VS' or 'VBS'. The issue is whether the steel manufacturer, who maintained these books of accounts, refers to him as 'VBS' or not.

    Obviously, neither the BJP nor any of its members prepared these books of accounts. It was the Income Tax department which raided the company. These documents are in possession of the Income Tax department since December, 2010. Only they could have leaked them. The BJP is stranger to the entire transactions.

    These account books are admissible evidence against 'VBS'

    The Congress party has jumped to the defence of the purported 'VBS' by stating that a diary is not admissible evidence.They have cited the judgment of the Supreme Court in the infamous Jain Hawala case. The judgment in the Jain Hawala case has no bearing on this case. My reasoning:

    These are regular books of accounts. There is a serial number, date of payment or receipt, the person to whom the payment is made, the person who authorised the said payment, the quantum of money paid or received and the balance, which remains in the account. Needless to say the entire payment appears to be in cash. The account is referred to as the 'CMD account'.

    These are regular books of accounts maintained in the regular course of business and are relevant evidence (section 34 of the Evidence Act).

    The veracity of these cannot be disputed since they were seized in a tax raid.

    These books of accounts are an admission in writing admissible against the maker of the admission, that is, the steel company, Ispat (section 17 and section 21 of the Evidence Act). These Books reflect a criminal conspiracy between a bribe giver and a bribe taker.
    Section 10 of the Evidence deals with this situation. The judgment of the Supreme Court in the Jain Hawala case approves the principle that there must be (a) a reason to believe that two or more people have conspired to commit an offence; (b) there must be anything said or written by anyone of them; and (c) It must be in reference to the common intention.

    If these conditions are satisfied an admission by a conspirator is admissible evidence against the other co-conspirators.Admittedly, there is an admission in writing. During the one-year period during which five payments were made, an act of bribery took place, the entries were made in the accounts and so were admissions (entry in the accounts) made during the execution of the conspiracy.

    The applicability of Section 10 was over-ruled in the Jain Hawala case because admissions in writing were made at a post conspiracy stage where Section 10 does not apply. Here the situation is different. The admissions are made during the conspiracy period of almost one year.

    The only issue to be investigated is whether there is any evidence to which these diaries would corroborate. That would be a subject matter of the investigation. In an investigation all that the investigator has to find out is to identify the person who authorised the payments. In this case most payments to 'VBS' have been authorised by 'AKS'.

    It is not difficult for any seasoned investigator to identify as to who is 'AKS'. The contact between AKS and VBS would be required to be investigated. Any matter which VBS is dealing with in relation to the steel company would be required to be investigated. Such an investigation is not a complicated affair.

    There is no quid pro quo required to be proved to invoke the Prevention of Corruption Act. Section 20 of the act clearly states that there is a presumption of illegal gratification when a public servant receives any amount other than a lawful payment.
    Can the CBI investigate this matter?

    This case obviously cannot be investigated by the CBI. The diaries contain an entry of expenses spent by the corporate group on CBI and ED. This is a fit case where the legal process has to be set into motion and be referred to Special Investigation Team (SIT) consisting of officers of unquestionable integrity.

    Identity of VBS

    If payments are being made to the steel ministry officials and its PSUs under the CMD account, it is not difficult for any investigator to decipher the identity of 'VBS'. Section 114 of the Evidence Act permits the presumption about the existence of a fact, which it thinks likely to have happened, regard being had to the common course of natural events, public and private business.

    The political issue

    These accounts have been in possession of the Income Tax authorities for the past 22 months. Obviously the CBDT, the revenue secretary and the finance ministry must have been aware of this.

    Has this fact been brought to the notice of the finance minister? It is obvious that this is not merely a revenue issue. It has serious implications on governance in India. It is a corruption issue. There is no reason why this fact has not been brought to the notice of the appropriate anti-corruption mechanism and various investigative procedures being invoked.

    Any public servant who has suppressed facts relating to the commission of an offence, himself is culpable and liable for dereliction of duty. It is obvious that the government tried to conceal this fact. Truth is difficult to be suppressed; it leaks itself out.

    What is the prime minister going to do now? Is he going to add to the environment of negativity by looking the other way and ignore facts? Were these facts known to him and the Congress president when they took certain decisions with regard to the Congress party's organisational changes in Himachal Pradesh? Their silence will reflect on their condonation of corruption.
     
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  3. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    Re: Another Scam - Ispat Steel makes payment to VBS

    I am suspecting something else on play here, I don't think there is a BJP hand in getting the news "leaked". My sense is that the leak came from someone in Congress, and it could very well be someone from the higher up.

    If what I am suspecting is right, then this issue will catch fire only once the elections in HP are over. The idea would be to nail "VBS" and not the Congress. It's just a 2-bit conspiracy I am cooking up though.

    The other could definitely be BJP getting the expose done, but if so, the desired results aren't there to see. This is the reason why I don't fancy BJP behind, because if they were doing it, it wouldn't have come across as a half cooked measure, there would have been much more and very specific details flowing.
     
  4. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Re: Another Scam - Ispat Steel makes payment to VBS

    And the water gets murkier. When our the people coming out on the streets ?
     
  5. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Re: Another Scam - Ispat Steel makes payment to VBS

    When will you? :p
     
  6. VIP

    VIP Ultra Nationalist Senior Member

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    Re: Another Scam - Ispat Steel makes payment to VBS

    Oh,cut the crap and tell me how big this scam is, so I can post this on fb... :))
     
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  7. SADAKHUSH

    SADAKHUSH Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: Another Scam - Ispat Steel makes payment to VBS

    Let us call this year as "Scam Ki Bahar". I hope these scams will sink the fortunes of most of the present politicians as a whole from each and every party.
     
  8. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    Re: Another Scam - Ispat Steel makes payment to VBS

    I love scam, nothing legal about them and no upper limit. I must say people work extra time to make it successful. Btw new business is to make money out of scams, media take money, not to publish scams. If they dont pay, it will be like 24/7 coverage of the same on news channels.
     
  9. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Re: Another Scam - Ispat Steel makes payment to VBS

    Already protested along side Anna in Delhi.
     
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  10. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Re: Another Scam - Ispat Steel makes payment to VBS

    More info comes to light. Vir Bhadra Singh is in deep trouble because money trail leads to VBS family. Ritesh can shed more light on this

    Arun Jaitley on 'VBS' files: How unaccounted money landed up in a ghost account in Shimla?

    Shimla: Keeping the pressure up on the Congress after NDTV's expose, the BJP today accused Virbhadra Singh of corruption, forgery, money laundering and faking income tax records. It also demanded a special investigation team (SIT) to investigate the allegations, since it didn't "trust the CBI".
    NDTV had aired a list of payments allegedly made to steel ministry officials by the Ispat Group which manufactures steel, at the time when Mr Singh was the steel minister. The list was found by income tax authorities during a raid. (The VBS bombshell: ISPAT payoffs to steel ministry?)

    Among names was a 'VBS', which the BJP says is Mr Singh. NDTV has not been able to independently verify this. Mr Singh denied recieving any money, saying that he initialled his name as VS, not VBS. (NDTV expose: The VBS files)

    "The issue is not whether the minister puts his initials as VS or VBS," BJP's leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitely said in Shimla. "What we need to investigate is what those entries mean. It is a money trail, from Mumbai to Shimla. Unaccounted money finds its self in a ghost account and Veerbhadra and family are beneficiaries. The list of names was found 22 months ago. Why has there been no probe so far?"
    New allegations emerged today against Mr Singh, pointing to the possibility that money he has denied receiving from Ispat was actually routed through an LIC agent in Shimla into a bank account and then turned into legal money which he then used to buy insurance policies for Mr Singh and his family.

    "A sum of Rs. 6 crore in cash has been converted into cheques and single premium policies were bought in the name of four people - Virbhadra Singh, his wife and two children," Mr Jaitley said. When asked about the source of his information, he said he was quoting media reports.

    Mr Jaitely also claimed that Mr Singh had filed two sets of income tax returns to camouflage the money that ISPAT allegedly gave him and backdating an agreement with one Bishambar Das to manage his apple orchards. He also said that the BJP didn't trust the CBI to probe these allegations, since its own name has appeared on the list of alleged pay-offs by the Ispat group.

    He also took a shot at Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who shared the stage with Mr Singh at an election rally in Himachal Pradesh. "If Sonia Gandhi was not aware about the charges against Virbhadra Singh, then she should not have shared stage with him and if she was aware then it she should not have spoken on corruption," Mr Jaitely said, adding that Mrs Gandhi must realise she will be judged by the company she keeps.

    Himachal Pradesh goes to polls on November 4.

    The BJP's attack follows allegations against its president Nitin Gadkari, who has been alleged to have grabbed land meant for farmers and getting illegal funds for several companies that he fronts. Mr Jaitely said that Mr Gadkari was open to any probe and has denied all the allegations
     
  11. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Re: Another Scam - Ispat Steel makes payment to VBS

    Arun Jaitley Exposing Vir Bhadra Singh



    Watch from 4 min
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
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  12. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: Another Scam - Ispat Steel makes payment to VBS

    Are you suggesting it is Anand Sharma who is also from HP and is itching to be the CM, if the news reports are to be believed?

    And the the Hand of the powers that be has kept it on his head in never ending Blessing?
     
  13. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Re: Another Scam - Ispat Steel makes payment to VBS

    For Virbhadra Singh, money grows on trees

    Are cash entries to ‘VBS’ from Ispat diaries linked to revised ‘income’ from apple orchards, routed to LIC policies?

    DELHI: Former Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh — who is already being linked by the Opposition BJP to alleged payoffs from the Pramod Mittal-controlled Ispat Industries — now faces additional questions about unaccounted cash entries emerging from his Income Tax (I-T) returns and affidavit of assets filed for nomination to the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly elections in 2012.

    The Hindu had reported on October 13 that the seizure of a document by the I-T Department during a December 1, 2010 raid on Ispat Industries’ Delhi offices recorded off-book cash payments to a ‘VBS’ of Rs 50,00,000 on 28/10/2009, Rs 50,00,000 on 23/12/2009, Rs 27,74,535 on 21/4/2010, and Rs 1,00,00,000 on 24/8/2010, along with a payment of Rs 15 lakh to ‘Min of Steel APS’ recorded for September 11, 2008. The cash payments add up to a little less than Rs 2.5 crore.

    It now turns out that Mr. Singh, who admits to one Anand Chauhan managing his money in a legal document, filed revised I-T Returns in 2012 for the assessment years 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12, soon after Mr. Chauhan’s accounts came under the scrutiny of the Shimla tax authorities in 2011.

    Mr. Singh entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Mr. Chauhan on June 15, 2008 that the latter would manage his apple orchards and invest the proceeds/income from the sale of apples in “government securities, Mutual Funds, in schemes of LIC or to invest the money in the products of Scheduled Banks by ensuring safe and better returns.”

    Between April 24, 2008 and March 31, 2010, Mr. Chauhan deposited roughly Rs 5 crore in cash in his Punjab National Bank account in Shimla. He also made corresponding deposits by cheque for LIC premiums totalling roughly Rs 5 crore in favour of the former Steel Minister, his wife Pratibha Singh and two children, Aparajita Kumari and Vikramaditya Singh.

    Coincidentally, Mr. Singh’s revised I-T returns show an increase in agricultural income to the tune of Rs 6.57 crore. While the original I-T returns document the net agricultural income at Rs 7,34,000, Rs 15,00,000 and Rs 25,00,000 for the assessment years 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively, the revised I-T returns, all filed on March 2, 2012, show staggering, corresponding escalations to Rs 2,21,35,000 (a 30-fold increase), Rs 2,80,92,500 (an 18-fold increase) and Rs 1,55,00,000 (a 6-fold increase).

    Whether this increase in agricultural income came from the late realisation of sale proceeds from Mr. Singh’s apple harvest or from some other source is not known. Nor is it clear whether these proceeds were the source of the cash deposits made in Mr. Chauhan’s accounts that the I-T office is scrutinising.

    The former Steel Minister, who is now leading the Congress camp in the upcoming Himachal Assembly elections, did not respond to a detailed e-mail sent by The Hindu asking questions about the revision of his I-T returns, the cash deposits of roughly Rs 5 crore between 24.4.2008 and 31.3.2010 in Mr. Chauhan’s bank account and the LIC policies Mr. Chauhan bought for Mr. Singh and his family. He neither responded to an SMS or call to his mobile number.

    Mr. Singh’s affidavit of assets filed for nomination to the Assembly elections in 2012 lists three LIC policies in his name with premiums of Rs 1,20,000, Rs 50,00,000 and Rs 1,00,00,000. Five LIC policies worth Rs 1,00,00,000, Rs 50,00,000, Rs 50,00,000, Rs 10,00,000 and Rs. 10,00,000 are listed in the name of his wife. His daughter Aparajita Kumari has two LIC policies of Rs 10,00,000 and Rs 5,00,000, while his son Vikramaditya Singh has 5 LIC policies worth Rs 50,00,000, Rs 10,00,000, Rs 20,00,000, Rs 5,00,000 and Rs 5,00,000.

    Mr. Singh’s MoU with Mr. Chauhan on June 15, 2008 for the management of his apple orchards and money is also curious considering that he almost simultaneously entered into a similar MoU with one Bishambar Dass on June 17, 2008. The Hindu’s query about how Mr. Singh could have entered into two conflicting agreements for the management of an orchard on the same land for the same period and whether the MoU with Mr. Chauhan had been backdated also went unanswered.

    Other entries from the Mittal diary for 2006-2010 show routine payoffs to officials in the ministries of finance, commerce, company affairs, petroleum, coal, mines, steel, environment and forests, rural development, highways and road transport, National Highways Authority of India, public sector firm MSTC, CBI and Enforcement Directorate, and the Korean High Commission (sic). Payments to journalists for stopping negative articles and photographs are also listed in these cash accounts.

    After Ispat was raided, Mr. Singh, a Himachal-based Congress leader, was edged out as Steel Minister in January 2011 after a tenure spanning less than 2 years (May 28, 2009-January 18, 2011).
     
  14. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Virbhadra Singh says he will 'break camera' when asked about graft charges

    New Delhi: Senior Congressman and former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today threatened to "break cameras" when media persons questioned him about the latest set of corruption allegations against him.

    "I'll break your cameras, aur koi kaam nahi hai (don't you have any other work?)" a visibly irked Mr Singh said in Aani in Himachal Pradesh when he was questioned about allegations that he had faked income tax records.

    The BJP has accused Mr Singh, who resigned in June this year as the UPA's Steel Minister, of corruption, forgery, money laundering and faking income tax records. It has also demanded that a special investigation team (SIT) investigate the allegations, on the grounds that it doesn't "trust the CBI".

    BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi slammed Mr Singh today and said he must answer all questions. "Instead of attacking the messenger, he should concentrate on the message. The information on corruption and money laundering is out in the open. The PM had said that money doesn't grow on trees, but Virbhadra Singh has proved that money grows on trees. He cannot escape by attacking the media. He is answerable and has to answer to all questions," he said.

    Sandeep Dixit of the Congress too agreed that Mr Singh shouldn't have talked about breaking cameras. He, however, added that allegations against him are "an attempt to divert attention."

    Earlier this month, NDTV reported that records maintained by a steel company showed that it had made payments in cash to members of different government departments. The documents, seized in an income tax raid in 2009 from the Delhi office of Ispat Industries Limited (IIL), showed that Rs. 2.8 crore had been paid to a "VBS." The steel minister at the time was Virbhadra Singh. He has however denied receiving any payments directly or otherwise from IIL, which was owned by the brothers of steel tycoon Laxmi Mittal.

    He says the documents and the BJP's charges are a political conspiracy by the party to target him ahead of the elections in Himachal Pradesh, scheduled for next month. His party, the Congress, says that entries in a diary are not evidence of a swindle and do not merit an investigation.

    But the BJP's Arun Jaitley disagrees. He says documents show that the alleged payments by Ispat were laundered for Mr Singh by an aide named Anand Chauhan.

    He says that tax officials in Shimla were alerted to a new bank account opened by an LIC agent named Anand Chauhan. He deposited large amounts in this account regularly, then issued cheques against this account to buy insurance policies in the names of four different people. Those beneficiaries, Mr Jaitley says, were Mr Singh, his wife and their two children. Six crores was transacted like this, Mr Jaitley alleged. "Unaccounted money goes into a ghost account opened by Anant Chauhan, and Sri Virbhadra Singh and his family become beneficiaries," he claimed.

    The BJP alleges that after he was alerted to his aide's account being monitored, Mr Singh revised his tax returns for the last three years to show a substantial income from agriculture. His new returns showed Rs. 6 crore being earned through the lease of his apple orchards.

    "This is a case of bribery, conversion of bribe money through money-laundering into real income, forgery by back-dating an agreement," Mr Jaitley said.
    The documents for Ispat Industries Limited grabbed during income tax raids show Rs. 35,000 listed as payments for the CBI and Enforcement Directorate staff.

    Virbhadra Singh has repeatedly brushed aside these allegations against him as "false and fabricated". He has also threatened action against those behind what he calls a "malicious" campaign ahead of Himachal assembly polls. "The information carried out by a section of the media is factually incorrect and details are being put out to create confusion in the public, and even divert my attention from the election campaign," he said yesterday.
     

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