Senior BJD leader Bhartruhari Mahtab on Tuesday accused former party colleague Baijayant Jay Panda of money laundering and Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) violation and sought to know what steps the central government has taken against him.
“Recently, it has come out in the newspaper that an Indian passport holder did not take the approval of the government or of the RBI before the companies in which the person and his wife and his family friends have controlling beneficial interest opened bank accounts in the tax haven of Nassau, Bahamas. I am talking about B J Panda. Mr Panda’s defence is that he was neither an overseas student nor an NRI at the relevant time and, therefore, did not need prior RBI approval or of the government before opening the accounts,” Mahtab said in Lok Sabha.
“What steps Union government has taken? Is it still at investigation stage? How long will it take to complete the investigation? Why is BJP accusing the Odisha government when BJP-led government is supposed to take action at the Union level?,” he asked during Zero Hour.
The Indian Express on February 8 reported that Panda was on the Income Tax radar after it received a complaint alleging money laundering and tax evasion by him, his wife and associates.
“Did Panda intimate the RBI and the government when closing the account and did he repatriate the entire amounts held in these foreign bank accounts as is required in the law? If not, he is liable for criminal prosecution under several Indian laws relating to foreign exchange violation and money laundering,” Mahtab said.