E-stamp project deal twisted | business | Hindustan Times
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E-stamp project deal twisted

The central government had floated the e-stamping project to end forgeries of stamp paper. However, the electronic project has run up a scam of its own, reports Suman Layak.

business Updated: Jun 28, 2007 22:48 IST
Suman Layak

The central government had floated the e-stamping project to end forgeries of stamp paper. However, the electronic project has run up a scam of its own – and this scam even has a government stamp on it.

Stock Holding Corporation of India Ltd had won the contract for setting up the computerised stamp duty administration system. The company had negotiated with CrimsonLogic of Singapore for the technology at (Singapore) $5 million (Rs 13 crore).

Stock Holding Corporation has complained to the Company Law Board on May 16 that its erstwhile chairman and managing director R Jayaraman Iyer struck a complicated deal at (Singapore) $10 million (Rs 26.5 crore) plus 4 per cent of revenues.

A copy of the Stock Holding Corporation petition is with Hindustan Times.

Instead of signing an agreement directly with Stock Holding Corporation, Crimson signed an agreement with Unitec Value Solutions, which is a 100 per cent subsidiary of SHCIL Services Ltd, an associate of Stock Holding Corporation. Unitec then signed an agreement with Stock Holding Corporation at the new price of (Singapore) $10 million.

The Union Ministry of Commerce approved an agreement between Stock Holding Corporation and Unitec Value Solutions for transfer of technology for the e-stamping project.

RK Bansal, the wholetime director of Stock Holding Corporation, who took over in April to clean up the mess in the company, says, “The fact that it had a government approval is true. But this is a technology agreement and the government approval is almost automatic.”

Bansal is now working on a plan to work around this deal. He said, “We are looking at buying up Unitec Value Services from SHCIL. Once we buy it out, it will not make a difference what fee we pay them. We are also looking at possibility of buying Unitec’s parent SHCIL Services.”