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'Where did Amar Singh get Rs 48.5 crore from?'

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
Last updated on: February 09, 2009 20:09 IST
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Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh has been accused of using the contraband 'hawala' operation to dole out a hefty $10 million 'gift' to the Clinton Foundation in United States.

Vishwanath Chaturvedi, who had earlier moved a PIL accusing SP chief Mulayam Singh of amassing disproportionate assets, has filed a petition before the Election Commission in New Delhi.

Copies of the complaint have also been sent to the Director of Enforcement and the Reserve Bank of India.

Accusing Amar Singh of having donated more than $10 million (approximately Rs 45.8 crore) to the William J Clinton Foundation run by the former US President, Chaturvedi has pointed out, "In his affidavit dated November 6, 2008, filed before the Election Commission, Amar Singh has disclosed net assets to the tune of Rs 37 crore, so where did he get Rs 48.5 crore from?"

He has quoted the donation figure from the Clinton Foundation's published records.

The petitioner alleged, "Singh had neither disclosed the donated amount in his income tax returns nor did he take the mandatory permission of the RBI."

While the original complaint was made on January 30, 2008, Chaturvedi chose to release a copy to the media on Monday, following the Chief Election Commissioner's suggestion that such a complaint could be made only to the returning officer of the Rajya Sabha, since Singh is a member of the Upper House.

"I have sought to draw the attention of the CEC to the fact that the returning officer's role concludes once the election is over, therefore, the CEC must take cognisance of the complaint, which is of a serious nature," he told rediff.com.

Urging the CEC to suspend Singh's RS membership for making a 'false declaration' before the EC, Chaturvedi has also demanded the invocation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999, which prohibits such action.

He cites Section 3 of the Act, "Save as otherwise provided in this Act, rules or regulations made thereunder, or with the general or special permission of the Reserve Bank , no person shall - deal in or transfer any foreign exchange or foreign security to any person not being an authorised person; make any payment to or for the credit of any person resident outside India in any manner; receive otherwise than through an authorized person, any payment by order or on behalf of any person resident outside India in any manner ; enter into any financial transaction in India as consideration for or in association with acquisition or creation or transfer of a right to acquire, any asset outside India by any person."

He added "It is evident that Singh had not only given false declaration about his wealth but also made the transaction in contravention of section 3 of FEMA. He should be prosecuted for both offences."

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
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