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Political donations: Centre clears air on foreign firms

The Delhi High Court was Wednesday told by the government that Vedanta Resources Plc and other companies, named in a petition alleging illegal foreign funding for the Congress and the BJP, are not international entities.



New Delhi: The Delhi High Court was Wednesday told by the government that Vedanta Resources Plc and other companies, named in a petition alleging illegal foreign funding for the Congress and the BJP, are not international entities.

The home ministry, through an affidavit, informed the court that information has been obtained on the status of six of seven companies named in the petition and except for one, none of them was found to be foreign firms.

The ministry said it had collected details from the ministry of corporate affairs, foreign division, and also from the companies about their status under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.

The ministry filed the reply before a division bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Indermeet Kaur on a plea seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the allegations that the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party accepted donations from subsidiaries of the Britain-based Vedanta Group.

The bench asked both political parties to file their replies and posted the matter for July 16.

The central government said: "After perusing the records, the ministry of corporate affairs came to the conclusion that none of the companies listed in the account statements were found to have established a place of business in India..."

"... since the companies had not established a place of business in India, they did not qualify as foreign company as per the Companies Act."

Vedanta, the Madras Aluminium Co. Ltd, Hyatt Regency, Win Medicare (Pvt) Ltd, Adani Wilmar and Sterlite Industries India Ltd. are not foreign companies, whereas DOW Chemical International Pvt. Ltd. is a foreign company, the affidavit said.

It added that the ministry said information about Sesa Goa Ltd. was yet to come.

The petition filed by NGO Association for Democratic Reforms and E.A.S. Sarma, a former secretary in the central government, through advocate Prashant Bhushan, alleged that various Indian laws had been violated by the Congress and the BJP by allegedly receiving funding from Vedanta Resources.

The PIL asked the central government to "cancel the income tax exemption given to political parties and corporate groups for donations made in violation of the law of the land".

IANS

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