Consider investigating city Congress chief Kripashankar Singh’s alleged role in the Rs 2,000-crore hawala scam masterminded by former chief minister of Jharkhand Madhu Koda, the Bombay High Court told the Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday.
The division bench of acting Chief Justice J.N. Patel and Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari told Additional Solicitor General Darius Khambata that the court might not pass any order on the public interest litigation (PIL) if the CBI decides on its own to bring in Singh in its ongoing investigation.
The judges also reminded Khambata that the hawala scam was an interstate case and CBI was already investigating it.
Koda is being jointly investigated by the Vigilance Commission, Income Tax Department and the Enforcement Directorate. (See box, Koda and the hawala scam)
Social activist Sanjay Tiwari had filed the PIL seeking orders to probe the alleged roles of Singh and five of his family members in the multi-crore hawala scam.
On Thursday, Singh’s lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani pointed out to the court that though his client’s name figures in a diary seized by the CBI officers from Koda, no steps were taken to investigate the role played by the Congress leader.
The judges expressed displeasure after Jethmalani said that no action was initiated by the income tax department against Singh despite intimating them that he had two PAN cards, an offence under the Income Tax Act.
C.G. Gawnekar, who represented the Congress MLA, alleged the PIL was politically motivated and pointed out similar complaints made by Shiv Sena activists against Singh.
Tiwari has alleged that Singh, who had migrated to Mumbai in the early 70s and worked as a vegetable vendor, and his family have amassed property worth Rs 250 crore “using his political clout”.
Singh’s immovable property includes a 1,355 sq ft duplex flat in Vile Parle (East), 250 acres of agricultural land at Ratnagiri, a 8,000 sq ft commercial complex at Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh, a bungalow at Carter Road in Bandra, a triplex flat in an under-construction building near Mount Mary in Bandra, two office buildings in Bandra–Kurla Complex having total area of 34,500 sq ft.
In his PIL, Tiwari alleged that huge cash transactions reflected in the bank accounts of Singh and his family members.
While transactions worth Rs 3.40 crore have taken place from his wife Maltidevi’s bank accounts, his son Narendra’s bank accounts revealed transactions worth Rs 60 crore in the last two years.