IN A development that could have political ramifications ahead of the Assembly elections in Punjab, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) Sunday issued summons to former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s son Raninder Singh for alleged violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
The ED has asked Raninder to appear before its Jalandhar office on June 16. Sources said the ED’s investigation stems from an Income-Tax Department complaint against Raninder.
He has already been summoned by a Ludhiana court on July 26 on charges that he lied to I-T authorities when he was asked about transactions through offshore companies and a trust based in the British Virgin Islands.
A document attached to the I-T Department’s complaint in the Ludhiana court against Raninder claims that an offshore company, allegedly linked to him, bought a house in London’s Knightsbridge for £1.8 million.
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In June 2015, The Indian Express had reported that Amarinder and his wife Preneet Kaur, facing scrutiny by tax officials, were sent fresh notices after the Central Board of Direct Taxes received information from France that Raninder was the settler of Jacaranda Trust, the beneficial owner of several British Virgin Islands-registered entities.
Included in the I-T complaint filed in the Ludhiana court is a document dated September 1, 2005. It is purportedly a record of a meeting between an HSBC relationship manager with Raninder and his father-in-law Kuldip Dhingra. Raninder told the I-T Department that this meeting never took place.
Reacting to the ED summons, Amarinder accused Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of “witch hunt”. In a statement, he said Jaitley still appeared to be “licking his wounds over his electoral defeat in Amritsar and that is the reason he was using I-T and ED to issue summons” to his family members. He added: “Why are you resorting to witch hunting?”
“Not that it matters to us as we will come clean no matter to what extent they go. But it actually reveals the petty mindset of a petty man…,” Amarinder said. “They are deliberately doing it at regular intervals to defame us ahead of elections,” he said.