National Security Advisor Ajit Doval’s younger Vivek Doval on Monday filed a criminal defamation suit against news magazine The Caravan, author Kaushal Shroff and senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh in New Delhi's Patiala House court. The complaint has been filed over the publication of an alleged defamatory article, which claimed that Vivek Doval was running a hedge fund in Cayman Islands.
The Cayman Islands is known as a tax haven. According to The Caravan magazine report, the hedge fund was registered just 13 days after the demonetisation announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016.
The same has also been linked with the business of Ajit Doval’s elder son Shaurya Doval, who is a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and heads the think tank India Foundation, which is considered close to the Modi government.
The report in the magazine had titled the article ‘The D-Companies’, which is usually associated with the network of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
Soon after the report was published, the Congress party also targeted NSA Doval and his family, accusing Vivek Doval of involved in Cayman Islands hedge funds. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh had alleged money laundering through Doval’s son’s company.
The article alleged that 13 days after Prime Minister Modi announced demonetisation on November 8, 2016, Doval’s son formed a company named GNY Asia, with the motive of sending and receiving money from abroad.
However, speaking to Zee News, Vivek Doval said that GNY Asia was started in October 2013, under the banner of Vivam Holding Co Ltd, which started collecting funds in November 2015 itself. The company was also registered in India in August 2016. Calling the allegations baseless, Doval has questioned if they knew in 2013 itself about the demonetisation announcement.
The second allegation against the NSA’s son is that GNY Asia was connected to his elder brother Shaurya Doval and also with the royal family of Saudi Arabia. Responding to it, Vivek said GNY Asia has no business connection with Shaurya Doval. He said that he had merely asked for some office space from Shaurya’s company ZEUS. He added that help was also sought from two ZEUS employees – Akul Jajharia and Priyanka Dua – who have also been paid a salary of Rs 1,60,000 per month. Talking about the royal family of Saudi Arabia, he said that there were six investors in the company, of which none hailed from the Gulf country.
On the third allegation that he indulged in business in Cayman Island despite his father Ajit Doval himself mentioning in a report on black money in 2011 that the island was a tax haven, Vivek said that though the place “was named a tax haven, there was no black money involved in his business”. He added, “You can’t compare an apple with an orange”.
Investment of as much as Rs 8,300 crore was made in foreign direct investment (FDI) through Cayman Islands in 2017 and it was alleged that the payment was routed through GNY Asia. Responding to this allegation, Vivek said, “GNY Asia fund started with Rs 77 crore, of which Rs 15 crore was invested in India. But later, our FPI licence was cancelled because SEBI norms required at least 25 investors for the same. Therefore, our India operations ended in August 2017, and later we suffered major losses because of the trade war between China and US. The allegations made by the Congress are false.”
Expressing anguish at the reference of ‘D-company’ in the article, Vivek pointed out that his father had always served the country and even risked his life, fighting enemies of the nation. He said that it was an attempt to malign his image and that of his brother in front of their father. “We were born in this country and we will die for this country,” he added.
On attacks over his UK citizenship, Vivek said that it was imperative for him because most of his business needs required him to often be in London. “Hence, I had to take British citizenship, but at the same time I also have Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) status.”