THE purported Sahara “diary,” now in the Supreme Court, are, in fact, 11 pages of alleged “payment entries” that name more than 100 leaders across the political spectrum as recipients. These include those from at least 18 parties including BJP, Congress, JD(U), RJD, SP, NCP, JMM, JVM, TMC, BJD, BKU, Shiv Sena and LJP.
There are two printed pages with two lists of names of politicians that have a total of 54 names. Two handwritten pages and another printed page with some jottings repeat some of these names. Another two printed pages list 62 candidates contesting elections.
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One handwritten page has payment dates of 2010 against the alleged entries. The diary also include five pages of what it calls “received details” of incoming payments in a tabular form with “cash expenditure details” made between 2013 and 2014. The stated outflow of funds during 10 months, as per these entries, adds up to over Rs 100 crore.
Senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan filed a petition in the apex court alleging a “cover-up” following raids conducted by the Income Tax Department against Aditya Birla Group companies in October 2013 and on the Sahara India Group in November 2014. On October 25, 2016, Bhushan had sent his complaint to all investigating agencies and the two retired judges heading the Special Investigating Team on black money.
As reported by The Indian Express earlier, officials in the SIT who are understood to have spoken to Finance Ministry officials have reportedly been informed that some of the Sahara “diary” pages and entries could be “fabricated” and that they have a statement on oath (as part of the appraisal report) from a Sahara official that he had made the payment entries to put other company officials in a “fix.”
When questioned about any intervention from their side on allegations of a cover-up, an SIT official had told The Indian Express: “We have been informed that while the Birla case is going through the usual course of assessment and appeal, part of the documents recovered during the raid on Sahara India could have been fabricated. In any case, this is not in our jurisdiction and thus we have not made any fresh intervention.”