The Australian Federal Police (AFP) are investigating what could be a case of “kickback” paid to some Indian contacts for helping a Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) subsidiary win banknote printing contracts.
With the issue having a potential to kickstart a major controversy in India, the country’s intelligence and investigation agencies have swung into action and are trying to ascertain the possibility of a “political donation”, said a top government source who requested anonymity as he is not authorised to talk to the media.
The Australian police, the source said, received a complaint that banknote maker Securency International Pty Ltd, an RBA subsidiary, paid $1,20,000 (Rs 48 lakh) to an Indian political lobbyist to help the company win banknote printing contracts in India.
Melbourne-based Securency manufactures a product called guardian, a polymer material used in Australian banknotes as well as currency in 27 countries.
The donation was hidden in the company’s accounts under “marketing expenses”, claimed the complainant whose name has not been disclosed.
Indian agencies are trying to ascertain whether it was the same money paid to a Mumbai-based lobbyist and accountant Satinder Singh Bachher — considered close to some top politicians in an Opposition party.
When contacted, Bachher said, “I need to check from my accounts people.” On whether he facilitated meetings between Securency executives with Indian government officials, he said he would get back. He also refused to answer whether he received any fund from Securency.
The source said Indian agencies are also trying to ascertain the identity of the officials and politicians whom Securency executives allegedly met through Bachher.
Securency, which was sent an email by HT on Tuesday, did not respond.