New Delhi: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy has written a letter to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seeking permission to initiate proceedings to prosecute Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia. Swamy alleged that Adhia has been involved in several corrupt activities and ‘enabled’ diamond jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi flee India. The BJP MP claimed that Adhia is still in touch with fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi and alleged that he is ‘extending’ him a ‘protective shield’. In his letter, Swamy has urged Jaitley to prosecute Adhia under Section 197 of CrPC and Section 19 Prevention of Corruption Act.
In an exclusive interview to ANI, Swamy said: “I wrote to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today, seeking sanctions to prosecute Hasmukh Adhia. He has been involved in not only many corrupt acitvities listed in the letter, but also in protecting corrupt people like P. Chidambaram and Sonia Gandhi. He has transferred all officers who have taken action against them, against these people in the National Herald, Income Tax matters. He has transferred a young Revenue Service Officer who was doing very good work.” Swamy further added that he will file a PIL in the Supreme Court on October 4.
“We cannot fight corruption from our own inside, people are sabotaging our activities. So, I have asked people for sanctions to prosecute him. On October 4, I will go to the Supreme Court to file a PIL in this matter,” Swamy said.
“The Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, as it is popularly known today, is about the grant of Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) by the bank to the companies of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi for a fraud involving Rs 11,000 crore. Presently, both of them are absconding. The said individuals and their companies are being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income Tax (IT) and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI). Three of the above mentioned four agencies work under the aegis of the Finance Ministry, and directly report to Adhia,” Swamy wrote in his letter to Jaitley.
He added that from the questions raised by him in the Rajya Sabha, on the amount involved in LoUs issued by banks, it is clear that in the PNB Scam, 21,666 LoUs were issued after May 26, 2014. “It is significant to mention that 1070, 6189, 6669, 5878 LoUs were issued in 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively. It may be mentioned here that starting November 2014, Adhia has been in the Finance Ministry, first as Secretary DFS and then from October 2015 till date, as Revenue Secretary. The modus operandi in the said case is that the accused persons fraudulently issued LoUs and credit and have apparently conspired with many unknown persons including officials in cheating the bank. The CBI is expected to file supplementary charge sheets on completion of the investigations,” Swamy wrote.
He said that the role of Secretary Adhia has been subject to a lot of public scrutiny in the recent past on this specific issue. Referring to a news story by a website that alleged Finance Secretary of receiving gold biscuits as Diwali gift, “but failed to order probe”, Swamy said the report “makes grave references to the gold biscuits and expensive items allegedly gifted by Nirav Modi to Adhia. Acceptance of gold biscuits is not just a violation of conduct rules but also warrant action under the PCA. The gold biscuits were deposited in the Toshakana as an after-thought by Adhia and it is not the appropriate place to deposit gifts received from unknown individuals. It is a matter of record that no enquiry or investigation was launched in this matter even though it is evident to all concerned that the sender (allegedly Nirav Modi) had an intent to bribe the Revenue Secretary of India, while he was looting the public exchequer for thousands of crores.”
Swamy alleged: “The Income Tax (IT) department which functions under the direct control and supervision of Adhia failed to cause any enquiry under the IT, Black Money or the Benami laws, thereby, enabling the fleeing of the accused, against whom Red Corner Notices could have been issued, provided the investigations were registered. Surprisingly, I have reliably learnt that the incriminating evidences that were found during the IT searches in 2016 were not shared with ED or CBI. Intriguingly, DRI, which also reports to Adhia, registered a case and issued notice to Nirav Modi for diversion of jewellery worth Rs 1205 crore from a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Surat in 2015. However, action to prosecute him, was initiated in March 2018, much after Nirav Modi fled India. It is a matter of serious concern as to why the IT and DRI, both under Adhia, had to wait for Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi to flee India to initiate any appropriate action. This, prima facie, is indicative of criminal nexus between Nirav Modi and Adhia – the only authority in the Finance Ministry who happens to be the epicentre of all these investigative agencies.”
Swamy said that in spite of more than 30 months having elapsed since the searches against Nirav Modi, “the investigations have not made any concrete progress and reliable sources have inforrned me that Nirav Modi is still in touch with Adhia, who is extending him a protective shield.”