ED tracking ‘$51m trail’ to Mauritius

To send letters rogatory to London and Mauritius to investigate ‘suspicious transaction’ by Unitech India

Written by Rahul Tripathi | New Delhi | Published: January 23, 2012 3:05:42 am

In what is suspected to be another money trail into the multi-crore 2G scam,the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is sending letter rogatories to London and Mauritius to investigate a “suspicious transaction” by Unitech India Ltd. The ED will bring the “dubious transaction” before the Supreme Court when they file their status report this week.

According to sources,the agency has discovered that Unitech India Ltd transferred US $51 million to Unitech Overseas Limited (UOL),which was allegedly transferred to a Mauritian investment without any explanation. The transaction took place between December 2007 and January 2008,around the time Unitech was granted UASL licence by former telecom minister A Raja.

What raises stink about the transaction,add sources,is that UOL had initial capital of only £2000 (British currency) but received share application of $51 million (or £30 million) on December 24,2007. This money(amounting to Rs 240 crore) was used for purchase of derivative which later had zero value.

While Raja is still in jail in connection with the 2G scam,former Unitech Managing Director Sanjay Chandra recently got bail.

Describing the suspicious deal,a senior ED official said: “After transfer of the money,UOL was directed by Chandra’s Unitech India to invest $51 million in one-year yield enhancement certificate through London-based Rabobank. The investment through Rabobank was linked to the performance of Pluri Emerging companies cell at Mauritius without any capital guarantee. The yield which was to expire on March 5,2009,became zero soon after Unitech was granted UASL licence.”

“When UOL raised the matter with Unitech India,the Indian arm reportedly gave an undertaking on 31 March 2009 to make good the loss to UOL. The ED-CBI team also questioned Chandra twice in December last year where he is learnt to have ‘admitted’ giving directions to its subsidiary to purchase the derivative. He also admitted issuing ‘comfort letter’ to UOL when it raised objections,” said the ED official.

Officials said the money transfer to London was done violating RBI guidelines and without any resolution by the Unitech board of members.

Asked about the transaction,a Unitech spokesperson said in an e-mail reply: “The matter is sub-judice. In view of the Supreme Court order,we are restrained from answering the questions raised in your mail but we vehemently deny any violations of FEMA or PMLA.”

The spokesperson further added,“…Like many other Indian companies,Unitech also has overseas transactions but none of these transactions (is) in any manner connected with or relating to 2G/telecom matter.”

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