`Money laundering attributes in Kripa`s dealing`

Last Updated: Friday, February 24, 2012 - 23:32

Mumbai: Terming the maze of transactions by
former Mumbai Congress chief Kripashankar Singh and his family
members as "dubious", the Bombay High Court has held that the
leader`s dealings with his son had attributes of money
laundering.

"Several transactions shown to have been done between
Kripashankar and his son Narendra Kumar Singh are mere counter
entries and demonstrate only an attempt to create cross
entries, the common feature and attribute of money
laundering," a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and
Justice Roshan Dalvi observed while ordering prosecution of
Singh and his family for criminal misconduct and corruption.

Raising questions as to why Singh would give several
lakhs to his son and take several lakhs from him, the court
said on Wednesday, "The report of the Income Tax speaks
eloquently of dubious transactions by the respondent 11
(Narendra) remarking that there are huge unsecured loans from
builders aside from advance of huge interest free loans and
gifts taken from as well as given to friends and family
members."

Noting that Narendra`s assets were grossly
disproportionate to his known source of income as a pilot with
Jet Airways, the court said, "The known source of income is
wholly inadequate to support his expenses or justify his
investments."

Elaborating on the various loans and transactions
undertaken by Narendra, the court said, "What could a pilot of
Jet Airways have to do with so many individuals and private
firms for extensive loans taken without any apparent reason?
Can a pilot afford four properties worth Rs 9 crore? We wonder
whether he paid even society charges of these properties from
his salary income."

"He is shown to be a pilot having been trained in the
US upon an expense of a few lakhs of rupees, which lends
itself to rejection," the court said.

The court said upon a modest earning of Rs 1 lakh he is
shown to have taken the loan of Rs 60 lakh from Standard
Chartered Bank for purchase of one flat.

"It is not known what was the security given to the bank,
what was the income shown to the bank and how upon an income
of Rs 1 lakh a month Rs 60 lakh came to be loaned to him."

Similar transaction, albeit of a much larger amount is
shown for another bungalow for which ICICI Bank upon its
mortgage is shown to have released another loan of Rs 8 crore.

A further loan of Rs 21 lakh is taken for purchase of a BMW
car which is shown to be sold for Rs 22 lakh.

"We wonder when the loan was taken and repaid. A second
BMW car is shown to be purchased upon another loan of Rs 43
lakh from the same bank."

It said there were cross entries showing amounts of one
partnership firm of Today Venture as well as amount invested
therein.

"Rs 15 crore are received and Rs 7 crore are invested for
no apparent reason. The movable items in his bungalow itself
shown to be worth Rs 1 crore. With such dealings his bank
accounts show credit balance of not more than a few thousand
rupees with one bank account having the distinction of the
credit balance of Rs.00.00," the bench said.

The court in its order said the amounts taken as loan
were shown to be repaid partly to the banks but fully with
interest to the private individuals.

"Standard Chartered Bank is paid Rs 40 lakh as against
the loan of Rs 60 lakh. ICICI Bank is paid Rs 3 crore as
against the loan of Rs 9 crore. Conversely Rakesh Wadhwa and
HDIL Company and Wadhwa Construction Company are repaid Rs 11
crore and Rs 92 lakh respectively which was about the same
amount as the loan taken.

"DHFL is repaid Rs 55 lakh against the loan of Rs 50
lakh. Whereas Rs 26 lakh and Rs 39 lakh are taken from
Jitendra and Devendra Singh, Rs 56 lakh and Rs 83 lakh are
repaid to them. These are rather obvious family members of
Respondent No.11," it said.

Along with Narendra, the court also came down heavily on
Kripashankar`s wife who has several immovable properties and
assets.

"She is shown to have five immovable properties at her
native place. No documentary evidence is produced to show
since when she owns them or how she acquired them - by
purchase, inheritance or by gift. What is intriguing is if she
amassed so much wealth legitimately, how come her savings bank
accounts show a balance of Rs 00.00," the court questioned.

Pointing out that Malti Devi Singh was shown to have
received Rs 75 lakh in forward dealings in commodities like
gold and silver, the court said the first transaction was not
before 2007. "It is not known how much she had invested
initially into this enterprising trade and from where she
derived those funds. Her assets inter alia show Rs 1.17 crore
invested in these means. The entire amount is prima facie
wholly suspect," it said.

While pulling up the Anti-Corruption Bureau for
maintaining that the family`s properties were just 11.69 per
cent disproportionate to their known sources of income, the
court observed, "such calculation would beat out arithmetic as
much as our conscience".

The court had on Wednesday held that prima facie case of
criminal misconduct was made out against Singh and ordered his
prosecution under the Prevention of Corruption Act and
attachment of his and his family`s immovable properties.

The setback had come on a day his resignation from the
post of Mumbai PCC president was announced by the party in the
wake of Congress` dismal performance in the recent civic body
polls.

Expressing astonishment at Kripashankar`s "rags to
riches" story, the court had said, "He started from scratch in
1970s.

"Until 1998 when he became MLA, nothing is shown to have
been acquired by him. He is shown to have earned as MLA a
monthly salary of Rs 45000 and in that salary has amassed more
than dozen immovable properties. His assets are shown to be
11.69 per cent disproportionate to his known source of income.

Such calculation would beat not just our arithmetic but also
our conscience."

The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed
by activist Sanjay Tiwari who alleged the Congress MLA had
amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of
income.

PTI



First Published: Friday, February 24, 2012 - 23:32

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