In a second major intervention with the Finance Ministry this month, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha has written to the Secretaries of Revenue and Banking to caution that big corporate houses are using front companies abroad to illegally re-route huge sums of money.
The CBI has sent copies of the communication to the SIT on black money.
As reported by The Indian Express, Sinha had on August 11 written to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on “unfair practices” in the selection of CMDs of public sector banks, including Syndicate Bank, where an alleged bribe-for-loan scandal is under CBI investigation.
The ministry has now taken up the matter with the RBI. A committee headed by then RBI Governor D Subbarao had approved the recommendation on selection of the now tainted S K Jain for the top job at Syndicate Bank.
In separate letters written to Banking Secretary G S Sandhu and Revenue Secretary Shaktikant Das last week, the CBI chief has said that many corporate houses were indulging in “third party transfers” in violation of RBI guidelines. Sinha has flagged to Sandhu that banks too have been party to these illegal “third party transfers”, wherein billing is routed through an intermediary in a third location, which is frequently a tax haven.
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In the letter to Das, Sinha has asked that cases under the revenue department involving third party transfers be referred to the CBI.
Sinha’s letters follow a preliminary enquiry registered by the CBI against the Adani group, which has been accused of overinvoicing to the tune of an estimated Rs 600 crore. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) had earlier issued showcause notices to three Adani companies.
While the CBI director’s note does not name any corporate house, Sinha is believed to have informed the two Secretaries about a recent case — which he is learnt to have described as “the tip of the iceberg” — wherein hundreds of crores of rupees were found to have been similarly re-routed.
The CBI chief has asked the Revenue Secretary to submit to the agency all data available with agencies such as DRI and Customs, wherein corporate houses have been detected as having routed money using tax havens or front companies.