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Wednesday 29 January 2020

CBI sues 51 companies for hiding ₹ 1,038 cr in Hong Kong

The investigating agency alleges 24 accounts have been used to send money abroad as advance payments for imports and 27 were used to send money for tourists

The government’s campaign against black money crossed a milestone today when the CBI named 51 companies or accounts for sending black money Hong Kong worth Rs 1,038 crore in 2014-15. Officials gave this information on Monday. It is alleged that these 51 entities sent unaccounted black money worth Rs 1,038 crore to Hong Kong in collusion with unknown officials of three state-owned banks: Bank of India, State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank.

Most of these units are owned by Chennai residents. The CBI was informed that the current accounts of 48 out of 51 units were opened in four branches of these banks only to send out an amount of Rs 1,038.34 crore.

The CBI has alleged that 24 accounts have been used to send money abroad as an advance payment for import of goods, under which an amount of Rs 488.39 crore was sent in dollars. Also, 27 accounts were used to send an amount of Rs 549.95 crore for overseas visits of Indian tourists.

The Narendra Modi government has taken a slew of measures to extract Indian black money from the domestic as well as international markets. While the business world in the country appears living in constant fear of raids by agencies, so far premier investigative agency CBI has not been successful in putting behind bars alleged offenders who are high profile like 2G spectrum accused A Raja or members of P Chidambaram’s family.

Demonetisation was meant to deliver a jolt to cash hoarders. GST is supposed to make accounting more complex but cleaner. Now there is a strong law against benami properties.

On the other hand, the black money in Switzerland has turned out to be a small fraction of what was claimed to be the volume of Indian cash stashed abroad in the period between 2011 when an anti-corruption movement started in the country and the BJP campaign for the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Also, no industrialist whom the activists alleged to be corrupt has been named by any authority abroad. The big names the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) mentioned in their reports under the title “Panama Papers” mostly turned out to be legitimate holders of overseas accounts.

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