Companies & Sectors
Telcos allowed to raise ECBs to pay for 2G spectrum

The telecom industry had been seeking further easing of the ECB norms as banks are reluctant to lend money to the sector

 
New Delhi: The Indian government on Friday said telecom companies that win in the upcoming 2G spectrum auction will be allowed to raise cheap loans from overseas markets in the form the external commercial borrowings (ECBs), reports PTI.
 
"The successful bidders in the 2G auction would be eligible to refinance their Rupee loans availed of from the domestic lenders for making the upfront payment with a long term ECB under the automatic route," a Finance Ministry official told PTI.
 
The bidding for the airwaves is scheduled to start from 12th November.
 
The telecom industry had been seeking further easing of the ECB norms as banks are reluctant to lend money to the sector.
 
In order to develop the telecom sector, the government in January 2010 had provided a window of 12 months to successful bidders of 2G auction for refinancing the rupee loan from domestic lenders to make payment for spectrum allocation with a long term ECB under the approval route.
 
"Keeping in view the large outlay of funds required to be paid directly to the government within a limited period of time, relaxation is provided for the upcoming 2G auction," the official added. .
 
The Finance Ministry official said bidders can also avail of short-term currency loans in the nature of bridge-finance under the automatic route for making upfront payment towards 2G spectrum allocation and replace it with long-term ECB under the automatic route, subject to certain terms and conditions.
 
Next week, the government is auctioning spectrum at a minimum bid price of Rs14,000 crore for 5 MHz of airwaves for all the 22 telecom zones.
 
The auction-based price is more than seven times that the carriers paid in earlier sales where airwaves were bundled with telecom permits.
 
Airtel and Vodafone are among the telecom biggies that have applied to bid in the auction, but Reliance Industries and Russia's Sistema surprised by staying away.
 
Airtel and main rival Vodafone have only bid for additional spectrum in select few circles. Other players in the fray are Videocon, Telenor and Idea.
 
The Reserve Bank, the official said, would soon be issuing the detailed guidelines for relaxing the ECB norms.
 

User

7 Financial Mistakes You Can Avoid

In this complex world of investments, you will counter many advices and experiences. You need...

Premium Content
Monthly Digital Access

Subscribe

Already A Subscriber?
Login
Yearly Digital+Print Access

Subscribe

Moneylife Magazine Subscriber or MSSN member?
Login

Yearly Subscriber Login

Enter the mail id that you want to use & click on Go. We will send you a link to your email for verficiation
Public Interest Exclusive
Kejriwal, the ex-Income Tax officer, targets hawala, black money and HSBC

No politician ever talks of hawala and black money in detail either because they are too compromised or they are simply too ignorant of economic or financial issues. And that is exactly what the ex-Income Tax officer turned activist has done in his latest expose

Arvind Kejriwal, former officer of the Indian Revenue Services (IRS) turned activist-politician has alleged that despite receiving a list of 700 people who have bank accounts in HSBC in Geneva, the Indian government is reluctant to take action against big names like the Ambanis, Tandons, Goyal, Burmans of Dabur and Yash Birla.

 

Kejriwal said, the list has names and amounts in bank accounts of Mukesh Ambani (Rs100 crore), Anil Ambani (Rs100 crore), Motech Software Pvt Ltd (a Reliance Group company) (Rs2,100 crore), Reliance Industries—RIL (Rs500 crore), Sandeep Tandon (Rs125 crore), Anu Tandon (Rs125 crore), Kokilaben Ambani (She has an account but there was no balance on that date), Naresh Kumar Goyal (Rs80 crore), Burmans (three family members) (Rs25 crore) and Yashovardhan Birla (no balance).

Sandeep Tandon was a former senior official of the customs and enforcement directorate and extremely close to the Mukesh Ambani group. Tandon, who was the RIL group’s advisor, died in March 2010—in Switzerland. His wife Anu Tandon is a Congress Member of Parliament from UP and is widely seen to be backed by Mukesh Ambani.
 

You may also want to read Another Fake by Sucheta Dalal.

 

Name

Amount in HSBC Geneva a/c in Geneva

         Who’s who?

Mukesh Ambani

Rs100 crore

CMD of Reliance Industries, the biggest private conglomerate in India. Also named as richest Indian by Forbes with a wealth of $21 billion.

Anil Ambani

Rs100 crore

Heads the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG). Anil, the younger brother of Mukesh Ambani, features at 11th position in the Forbes list of richest Indian with a net worth of $6 billion

 

Sandeep Tandon

 

Rs125 crore

Was the top liaison executive of Reliance Industries. A former officer from the IRS cadre, Tondon worked with Enforcement Directorate, where he investigated foreign front companies floated by RIL. He died in March 2010 in Switzerland.

Anu Tondon

Rs125 crore

Wife of Sandeep Tondon, at present she is a Congress MP in the 15th Lok Sabha from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh. She earlier managed MoTech Software Pvt Ltd, a company launched by Mukesh Ambani. The entire Tondon family has close relations with the senior Ambani brother. Sandeep and Anu’s two sons are employees of RIL.

 

MoTech Software Pvt Ltd

 

Rs2,100 crore

Set up by Mukesh Ambani, this software company was run by Anu Tondon. Financially backed by the Reliance group, this Mumbai-based company provides business and IT solutions

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL)

Rs500 crore

 

RIL is one of the largest publicly traded company in India by market capitalisation and is the second largest company in the country by revenue after Indian Oil Corp. Mukesh Ambani-led RIL operates three business segments: petrochemicals, refining, and oil and gas; other divisions of the company include textiles, retail business, special economic zone (SEZ) development and telecom/broadband business.

Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani

She has an account but there was no balance on that date

Wife of Reliance group founder Dhirubhai Ambani and mother of Mukesh and Anil.

 

Naresh Kumar Goyal

 

Rs80 crore

Founder-chairman of Jet Airways. Following the 2005 IPO of Jet Airways, Forbes magazine declared him the sixteenth richest person in India with a net worth of $1.9 billion.

 

Burmans (3 family members)

 

Rs25 crore

The Burmans own Dabur India Ltd, the country’s largest Ayurvedic medicine manufacturing company with revenues of over $1 billion.

Yashovardhan (Yash) Birla

 

No balance

 

Chairman of the Yash Birla Group, which has interests in industries like steel pipes, machine tools, cutting tools, tool holders, iron castings and power solution products. The group has a turnover of Rs30 billion. A regular on Page3.

 

After receiving the list in July 2011, the Income Tax (I-T) department conducted raids across the country. Kejriwal alleged that the Ambani brothers have admitted these accounts and have paid taxes on the amounts that existed in their personal names. He also said, that Mukesh Ambani is understood to have met the then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and requested him not to raid Reliance Industries and shown readiness to pay taxes to “buy peace”.

 

In a statement, RIL denied all allegations made by Kejriwal against the company and its chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani. "Neither Reliance Industries Ltd nor Mukesh Ambani have or had any illegitimate accounts anywhere in the world. Reliance Industries has business interests in several countries with turnover of thousands of crores in rupees. As a part of their normal business, these international subsidiaries of Reliance Industries deal with several global banks including HSBC. These accounts are fully compliant with all regulations and are disclosed in their appropriate jurisdictions and in India. The continued tirade of baseless allegations being made by IAC against us appears to be instigated by vested interests," the company said in the statement.

 

Rejecting allegations of stashing away unaccounted money in Swiss accounts, Jet Airways said there is no account in the name of its Chairman Naresh Goyal in HSBC Bank's Geneva branch, though he is entitled to have bank accounts outside India as he is a non-resident Indian (NRI).

 

Rejecting allegations made by Kejriwal at a press conference in which he had accused HSBC Geneva of money laundering and that Burman brothers had accounts there, a statement issued by Dabur India said: "It was unfortunate that every person having a foreign bank account is being painted with the same brush."

"We wish to state that these accounts were opened by the Burman family members when they were NRIs, and were legally allowed to open such accounts," Dabur added.

 

Kejriwal said the I-T department conducted three raids on 28 July 2011 in Delhi and recorded statements from three people in the list. All three-Parminder Singh Kalra, Vikram Dhirani and Praveen Sawhney-admitted to the genuineness of the information and accepted that they had Swiss bank accounts, which had not been declared for taxation.

Here are the statements given by Kalra, Dhirani and Sawhney to the I-T department...
 


The statements by the three reveal that HSBC is openly and brazenly running a hawala racket in India. "From their statements, it appears that perhaps it is easier to open a Swiss bank account than it is to open an account in SBI. You just need to contact HSBC in India. They would send someone to your home, who would get the forms filled up, take money in cash from you and your account would get opened in Geneva or Dubai. You don't need to go out of India to open an account. Likewise, you don't need to go abroad to operate your account. You are given the name and mobile number of someone in Geneva. If you have to deposit cash or withdraw money, you just call up that person. Immediately someone in India from HSBC would visit your house. If you have to deposit cash, you hand over the cash to that person. Corresponding amount in dollars would get credited to your account in Switzerland. If you have to withdraw money, that person would deliver that much cash to you," Kejriwal alleged.

According to the social activist-turned politician, involvement of Kalra, Dhirani and Sawhney in hawala could be established only when they were raided and their statements were recorded by the I-T department. In this connection, Kejriwal raised questions like...

  1. Why were Ambanis, Naresh Goyal, Burmans and Birlas not raided? Why were their statements not recorded? It appears that small people in that list were raided and bigger and powerful people were let off.
  2. How did the money lying in their Swiss accounts reach there? How did the money travel to and from these accounts regularly? Through hawala, as it is turning out in all other cases?
  3. Are Ambani brothers, Naresh Goyal, Burmans and Birlas guilty of indulging in hawala activities?
  4. What transactions took place from these bank accounts? Were any bribes paid to politicians or bureaucrats?

According to Kejriwal, HSBC is facilitating the hawala racket in India, which is serious crime under the FEMA and Prevention of Money-Laundering Act (PMLA). “In October 2011, a report was sent by Director of Investigations, Delhi to Director General of Investigations, Delhi. The report clearly stated that HSBC officials were indulging in hawala and also encouraging tax evasion in India. The report also said that HSBC's Dubai and Geneva branches do not have a license from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to conduct banking operations in India and their operations in India were completely illegal. It is more than a year, yet no action has been taken against HSBC,” the social activist said.

 

He said, when HSBC was caught in similar activities, the US government initiated strong action against top executives of the bank and forced them to reveal the complete list of US accountholders in their Swiss branches. However, he alleged that despite receiving a list of 700 people and information about their Swiss bank accounts, the Indian government is not taking any action on the bank and these listed entities.
 

To read Tax evasion: Broken trail, click here.

 

Here are the demands made by Kejriwal...

  1. Top officials of HSBC should be immediately arrested under PMLA.Is this not a fit case for charging them against sedition and raging war against India?
  2. Operations of HSBC should immediately be suspended in India.
  3. Like it was done by US, HSBC should be asked to provide complete list and bank statements of all Indians who have had their accounts in its Geneva branch in last ten years.  
  4. All those whose names figure in the list of 700 people, including Ambani brothers, Naresh Goyal, Burmans and Birlas should be raided and their statements recorded. They should be asked to produce complete bank statement. They should be asked to explain each entry-both debit and credit. Where did the money come from, how did it come and to whom was money paid and for what. Accordingly, action should be initiated against all of them under various laws.  
  5. They should be arrested if they are found prima facie guilty to have sent their money abroad through hawala and if they are prima facie guilty under PMLA or PCA.

    To read how HSBC lured greedy US-based Indians with schemes that would help them avoid paying US taxes, please click here.

User

COMMENTS

M K TYAGI

4 years ago

Statements of S/Shri Parminder Singh Kalra, Vikram Dhirani and Praveen Sawhney reveal hawala transactions. It is surprising that no action has been taken against HSBC in spite of recommendation of Director of investigation to Director General of Investigation, New Delhi.

Shashikant Koppikar

4 years ago

It is obvious that the "wise men" on various panel discussions have made no effort whatsoever in linking the many dots the way Kejriwal has done. The procrastination of the Indian Government ( for obvious reasons), the role and penal action faced by HSBC bank in USA, UK, and Greece, The unease of the RBI on modes of investment by Offshore conduits, very obvious selectivity displayed by the Indian law enforcement agencies, are facts staring in the face of Suhail Seths, Vinode Mehtas and Governement functionaries. But, like they say, you can take the horse to the water but you cannot make him drink it. I wonder whether the powers that be and the critics of Kejriwal will wake up only when, in sheer frustration, the lay populace will take to the streets in a bloody convulsion that will shake our nationhood at its very foundations!!!

nagesh kini

4 years ago

Even the Supreme Court has said in so many words that the GOI is holding up information.
It is now time to publish the 700 names furnished by the French Government as well as the results of investigations/enquiries.

REPLY

crmohanraj

In Reply to nagesh kini 4 years ago

Do you seriously think that it is ever going to happen in Mera Bharat Mahan?

crmohanraj

4 years ago

If Kejriwal with his limited resources could unravel so much about stashed black money abroad with clear proofs, why could our opposition stalwarts like Advani,Jaitly,Sushma et al with so much facilities they command unravel these years ago?

They simply will not do it because, as Suchitaji says- they are all in it together!

Mohan Raj
9 Nov 12

REPLY

Dayananda Kamath k

In Reply to crmohanraj 4 years ago

there are stories in internet that rahul gandhi was caught by us authroities in 1990's with 165000 usd along with his then fiancee columbian drug lords daughter. and was bailed out by the then bjp govt.may be to save the nehru gandhi name. they have to come out now and bring out the realities

Prabhakaran

4 years ago

I find there is some sense in his becoming a politician. Possibly, he then only can fight the case. And,he and his team needs to remain uncorrupted.

P M Ravindran

4 years ago

I believe every word of Kejriwal. Wish him all success. Not that I am an arm chair supporter. Some of us, here in Palakkad, are doing our bit to expose corruption and make the govt responsive.

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)