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AAP's charges over Singapore deals false, defamatory: RIL

Last updated on: February 28, 2014 22:08 IST

AAP's charges over Singapore deals false, defamatory: RIL

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BS Reporters in New Delhi

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has sought an investigation into deals in which privately held companies of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani received Rs 6,530 crore (Rs 65.30 billion) through a multi-level transaction routed through two companies in Singapore. 

AAP alleged RIL's legal advisor Atul Dayal (who it claimed owned a Singapore-based company involved in the deals) had benefited from this.

The deals, highlighted by AAP leader Prashant Bhushan at a press conference here on Thursday, pertained to 2007-08, when Singapore-based Biometrix Marketing Pte Ltd had invested in four Indian companies - Reliance Gas Transportation Infrastructure, Relogistics Infrastructure, Reliance Ports and Reliance Utilities. 

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Image: Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani.
Photographs: Reuters

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BS Reporters

Together, these companies received $1.62 billion (about Rs 6,530 crore, according to the exchange rate then).

Bhushan produced a letter, purportedly written by the High Commission of India in Singapore in August 2011. "The investment needs to be examined," the letter said.

In a strongly-worded press release titled Rehash of old allegations, RIL said, "Allegations have been made the FDI (foreign direct investment) in certain Indian companies by Biometrix, a Singapore-based company, are "laundered monies" invested in India. 

The allegations are completely false.

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Photographs: Reuters

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The allegations made by Prashant Bhushan today (Thursday) are highly defamatory, false, irresponsible and devoid of any merit or substance whatsoever.

These false allegations have been repeatedly made and their regurgitation in the media is fuelling an orchestrated, politically-motivated campaign against us."

According to the company, these allegations are part of a sub judice matter, under which representations have already been made.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Bhushan said the High Commission had made enquiries about Biometrix, following a reference in this regard by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.

But on verification through records of Singapore's Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, the commission found Biometrix had an equity capital of S$110,000 (Rs 55 lakh, according to the current exchange rate) and found the company's location had "just one room, which was closed most of the time", Bhushan said. 

The major shareholder in Biometrix was another Singapore-based company called Strasbourg Holdings, which had 91 per cent stake. According to Bhushan, the High Commission's letter had said, "Enquiries revealed (Strasbourg) was not located at the address." 

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Image: Mukesh Ambani.
Photographs: Reuters

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Reliance said its legal advisor Atul Dayal was neither the owner, nor the director of Biometrix.

Bhushan, however, quoted the High Commission's letter to claim Dayal fully-owned Strasbourg, which owned 91 per cent of Biometrix.

Given both Strasbourg and Biometrix did not have much equity, "It is highly probable the amounts may have been shown as credit/loans raised from Singapore or from other countries, mostly tax havens, to form a circuitous route. Ultimately, the source needs to be ascertained," Bhushan quoted the commission's letter as saying. 

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Photographs: Reuters

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In its statement, RIL said, "The investments by Biometrix were open, transparent and perfectly legitimate transactions, in full compliance with the extant regulations. These investments in the Indian companies were made by Biometrix out of loans raised from ICICI Bank, Singapore branch. ICICI Bank has confirmed this fact to the regulators. Regulatory authorities have fully investigated the matter and found no substance in the allegations of money laundering. The insinuation that this money was from 'gold plating' from KG-D6 is completely irresponsible and false."


Photographs: Reuters

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