The Income-Tax department,which had searched Ispat Industries Ltds Delhi office in Ashok Hotel in December 2010,retrieved data from a laptop which mentioned payments to officials of different ministries and Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The Income-Tax department,sources said,referred the alleged payment details to chief vigilance officers of ministries whose officials figured in the list. Barring the steel ministry,all responded,the sources said.
The opposition BJP demanded a probe into the allegations after the NDTV reported on Friday that Rs 2.28 crore was paid to VBS who the channel referred to as Virbadhra Singh,the then steel minister. Singh has already rejected the charge,saying the VBS referred to is not him and a political ploy is on to tarnish his image in election-bound Himachal Pradesh.
The alleged pay-off ledger has other entries Rs 1.5 lakh as Amount paid to CM MP for Car on October 27,2008; Rs 1 lakh on September 25,2007 for CM staff for Bhopal for Mines; Rs 2.5 lakh on October 27,2007 for signing of MoU for people of industry & chief minister office at Indore.
On October 29,2007,Ispat had signed an MoU with Madhya Pradesh Trade and Facilitation Corporation for Rs 1,500 crore investment which included a coke oven battery plant.
When comments were sought on these entries,Rakesh Srivastava,Commissioner,Public Relations of Madhya Pradesh,speaking on behalf of the Chief Ministers Office,said: We deny this allegation. We dont know what has been written. We also wonder,can a car come for Rs 1.5 lakh. We do not take monetary favours from anyone.
Extensive use of abbreviations in the ledger makes the real identity of beneficiaries unclear.
The 45-page spreadsheet detailing payments by Ispats top management makes mention about miscellaneous expenses made to various officials during 2007-2010.
The list of such expenses in 2009-2010 included Rs 5 lakh each for Ministry of Corporate Affairs for scrutiny and incurred for Jharkhand issue,Amount paid to Collector Champa for issue of land transfer to industry department,Rs 12 lakh for Rate fixation charges (for) Raipur land and JS Mines 1000$ .
Sources familiar with the developments said the response from CVOs of ministries were routine. The CVO of the steel ministry was not immediately available for comment and the ministry spokesperson did not respond to telephone calls and text messages.