Newly appointed Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) interim director M Nageswar Rao issued a statement on Tuesday in his personal capacity denying media reports of money laundering.
Rao was asked to take charge of the CBI after the controversial decision by the government to send CBI director Alok Verma and special director Rakesh Asthana on forced leave.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Rao explained in detail the particulars of a transaction that took place between 2010 and 2011 over which his wife has been accused in the media of laundering money through a shell company in Kolkata.
Rao confirmed that his wife, Mannem Sandhya, took a loan of Rs 25 lakhs from Kolkata-based firm Angela Mercantile Pvt Ltd in 2010.
He said that the company was owned by a long time family friend called Praween Agarwal and the sum his wife received was used for the joint purchase of a property in Guntur in Andhra Pradesh.
“In 2010, my wife Mannem Sabdhya took a loan of Rs 25 lakhs from M/S Angela mercantile Pvt Ltd., owned by Shri Praween Agarwal, a long time family friend. This sum was used in joint purchase of a property in Guntur, AP,” he said in the statement.
“Mannem Sandhya later in the year 2011 sold her ancestral agricultural land of 11-17 acres for a sum of Rs 58.62 lakhs and along with Rs 1.38 lakhs from personal savings, transferred it to M/S Angela Mercantile Pvt Ltd. in 2011,” he said.
Rao said that after deducting the loan amount of Rs 25 lakhs, and adding interest on the balance Rs 35 lakh which the company had retained as investment, returned a sum of Rs 41,33,165 to Mannem Sandhya in July 2014.
Denying all other reports as “incorrect and untrue”, Rao said that competent authorities were given due intimations regarding the transactions immediately.
“Complete details of all properties of my family and mine have been submitted in my Annual Property Returns to the Government for all years, which are available for download on Ministry of Home Affairs website,” he said, adding, “The question of any unaccounted money does not arise at all.”
Some media reports had earlier said that his wife was had obtained loan from a shell company in Kolkata and invested money in it thus acquired a benami property through illegal routing of funds.
On 27 October, just 72 hours after he was made interim director, the Supreme Court curtailed the powers of the 1986 batch Orissa cadre IPS officer, telling him that he cannot take any major decisions.
Rao was in the CRPF between 2008 and 2011. He returned to Odisha in 2012 before being posted at the Centre as CBI joint director in April 2016.