Only 500-odd complaints of sexual harassment of women at work have been registered for all of India every year over the past few years, details given to Parliament by the government in July this year show. The largest number of complaints in every year since 2015 were registered in Uttar Pradesh (total 627), the country’s largest state by population. Delhi saw the next highest number of complaints (total 314). Overall, 2,164 complaints were registered all over India since 2015.
The information was provided to Lok Sabha by Dr Virendra Kumar, Minister of State in the Ministry of Women and Child Development, on July 27, 2018, in response to an unstarred question by Jagdambika Pal, BJP member from Domariyaganj in UP, who wanted to know “whether the number of complaints of sexual harassment of women at workplaces has increased in the country over the years”, and “if so, the details therof including the number of complaints received by the National Commission for Women during each of the last three years and the current year, state/UT-wise”. The reply did not have the cut-off date for the 2018 data.
Unexplained Wealth Order: Britain’s new law to tackle money laundering, and why it is international news
A woman from Azerbaijan was last week named as the first target of a new British law seeking to hold to account “politically exposed persons” such as politicians and civil servants who are not citizens of the European Economic Area and other individuals suspected of getting their wealth through serious crime. The law, incorporated earlier this year as part of the UK’s Criminal Finances Act, 2017, allows authorities to seize assets over £50,000 (about Rs 49 lakh) that are suspected to be proceeds of corruption or organised crime. An Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) issued by a court can be used to force suspects to reveal the sources of their wealth.
The UWO law is significant in the context of disclosures such as those made in the Panama and Paradise Papers, and because of the UK’s reputation for providing a relatively easy path to laundering stolen money. Following the nerve agent attack on the former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, the government has faced calls for action especially against super rich Russians in the UK. In his endorsement of UWOs, Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable demanded that all “these oligarchs (must be forced to) explain in writing, with detailed documentation, just how they obtained their fortunes”. In February, The Times had quoted British Minister of State for Security and Economic Crime Ben Wallace as saying that UWOs could be issued “against everyone from a local drug trafficker to an international oligarch or overseas criminal”.
It is widely acknowledged that a lot of suspect money flows into the UK. In a special report in April, the Financial Times said a popular estimate puts “the amount concealed in the UK each year (at) £90 billion”, but added that “in its 2017 assessment of serious and organised crime, the National Crime Agency said it was ‘likely that previous estimates of £36 billion to £90 billion are a significant underestimate’”.
Zamira Hajiyeva, 55, the woman whom the court asked for the sources of her income, spent £16 million (Rs 155 cr) on jewellery, wine and other goods at luxury store Harrods between 2006 and 2016, £11.5 mn (Rs 111 cr) on a home in London, and £10.5 mn (Rs 101 cr) on a golf course. A large chunk of her purchases at Harrods was made with 35 credit cards issued by the International Bank of Azerbaijan, formerly headed by her husband, Jahangir Hajiyev, now jailed in their home country for fraud and embezzlement.