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PIL alleging foreign fundings to Cong, BJP: Delhi HC reserves order

PTI | Last Updated: Friday, February 28, 2014 - 23:21

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday reserved its order on a PIL seeking a court-monitored probe against Congress and BJP for allegedly receiving fundings from Indian subsidiaries of UK-based Vedanta Resources in violation of various laws.

"We reserve the order," the bench comprising justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Jayant Nath said after hearing arguments on behalf an NGO, which had filed the PIL, the Centre and both the political parties.

Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Association for Democratic Reforms, referred to the provisions of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) and the Companies Act and said, "It is an open and shut case, wherein the facts are admitted that both the parties have accepted donations from Indian subsidiaries of the United Kingdom-based Vedanta Resources PLC."
The provisions of the FCRA are "very clear" on this aspect that no Indian firm, whose holding company is incorporated in a foreign country, can donate to a political party here, he said.

He alleged Sterlite, Sesa Goa and Madras Aluminum, all Indian subsidiaries of Vedanta, gave donations to Congress and BJP in violation of the FCRA Act and the Companies Act.

He opposed the plea of both the political parties that Anil Agarwal, an Indian, holds more than 50 per cent stakes in the parent UK-based Vedanta Resources and hence, no Indian laws were violated.

Additional Solicitor General L Nageswara Rao, appearing for the Centre, opposed Bhushan`s plea saying the donations came from companies listed in India and moreover, the firms have operations here.
Referring to the legal provisions, the ASG said if a firm has a business here then it would be "construed as an Indian" firm for all the legal purposes relating to the Companies Act.

Congress and BJP had taken a similar stand that no laws have been violated by them as an Indian held majority stakes in a foreign company, whose Indian subsidiaries gave donations to them.

First Published: Friday, February 28, 2014 - 23:21
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