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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Jaitley demands SIT probe into ISPAT payoffs

HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times  Shimla, October 24, 2012
First Published: 00:17 IST(24/10/2012) | Last Updated: 00:54 IST(24/10/2012)

Demanding a probe into the alleged Ispat Industries bribe scam, BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Tuesday charged Himachal Pradesh Congress president Virbhadra Singh with converting black money into white by purchasing megabuck LIC policies.

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Singh, however, retaliated by asking Jaitley to move appropriate law enforcing agencies instead of talking to media. "Arun Jaitley seems to know more than me about my I-T returns," said Singh in a statement.

Asking the Congress-led UPA government to set up a special investigation team, Jaitley said the facts pertaining to the money trail of Singh were "as clear as day light".

As reported by HT on October 13 and 23 ('Ispat payoffs: Shimla insurance agent got multi-crore deposits'), a document seized during an income-tax raid at the offices of Ispat Industries on November 30, 2010 suggests R2.27 crore had been paid to one 'VBS' between Oct '09 and Aug '10.

Some of these payments coincided with huge deposits in the bank account of Anand Chauhan, an LIC agent-cum-business partner of the former Union minister of steel.

Chauhan has admitted before the I-T department about investing Singh's money in LIC policies.

According to Jaitley, when Ispat was raided, its "statement of account" had entries of money paid to then steel minister and his staff. Jaitley even attacked Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for sharing the dais with Singh at a rally in Mandi on Monday. "She wouldn't have talked about corruption in Mandi, had she known the facts about the person (Singh) sitting on the dais."

Quoting media reports, Jaitley said this came to light from the March 2012 revised I-T returns of Singh. "This is a case of bribery, conversion of black money into white and forgery by signing back-dated agreement to show rise in agriculture income."

In Delhi, the Congress came out in strong defence of Singh, saying the allegations were "far more political than in substance" and intended to affect the assembly poll campaign.


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