The government on Monday told Parliament that some Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) are being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the Rs 685 crore fertilisers import scam but declined to share their names as it “may impact” the ongoing probe.
Replying to a question from Congress Lok Sabha member Gurjeet Singh Aujla, Minister of State for Finance, Pankaj Chaudhary said that the ED is probing the money laundering scam involving IFFCO Managing Director U.S. Awasthi, based on the FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
On the involvement of the NRIs and foreign companies in the case, the minister said: “Some of the persons are NRIs. Disclosures of further details of the case may not be in the larger public interest as the same may impact the ongoing investigation in the case.”
In its FIR filed in May, the CBI has named Awasthi, Indian Potash Ltd Managing Director Pravinder Singh Gahlaut, Awasthi’s sons and Catalyst Business Associates Pvt Ltd promoters Amol Awasthi and Anupam Awasthi, Gahlaut’s son Vivek Gahlaut, Pankaj Jain of Jyoti Group of Companies and Rare Earth Group, Dubai, and his brother and Jyoti Trading Corporation President Sanjay Jain, and Jyoti Trading Corporation’s Senior Vice President Amrinder Dhari Singh.
Besides them, it has also named chartered accountant and Midas Metal International LLC and other companies promoter Rajiv Saxena, Pankaj Jain’s employee Sushil Kumar Pachisia, and unknown directors of IFFCO and unknown others.
According to the CBI FIR, IFFCO and IPL were importing huge quantities of fertilisers, running into several thousands of metric tons, along with raw materials for fertilisers from various foreign suppliers, for the country’s farmers, and the government was providing subsidies on them to facilitate supply to the farmers at reasonable rates.
However, it was alleged that in order to cheat the government by claiming higher subsidies, some IFFCO and IPL officials were importing the fertilisers and raw materials through Kisan International Trading FZE in Dubai, a subsidiary of IFFCO, and other middlemen, at highly inflated rates, covering the commission meant for the accused, including the MDs of IFFCO and IPL, which was paid or transferred by the overseas suppliers to the accused officials through sham transactions involving the accused.
All these imports were done between 2013 and 2017, it said.
The ED has arrested Rashtriya Janata Dal Rajya Sabha member A.D. Singh and Delhi-based CA Alok Kumar Agarwal in connection with the case.