Reliance Industries says AAP charges false, baseless
Reliance Industries has taken strong exception to the allegations of money laundering made by AAP Thursday, called them "false", "defamatory" and "baseless", and said the matter had already been adequately responded to and addressed in courts and by regulators.
The statement of denial titled ":rehash of old allegation" came a few of hours after Aam Aadmi Party leader and senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan charged the UPA government with ignoring a probe request three years ago by the Indian mission in Singapore against Reliance Industries and its chairman Mukesh Ambani.
"The allegations made by Prashant Bhushan today (Thursday) are highly defamatory, false, irresponsible and devoid of any merit or substance whatsoever," Reliance Industries said in the statement.
"These false allegations have been repeatedly made and their regurgitation in the media is fuelling an orchestrated, politically-motivated campaign against us," the statement added.
Earlier in the day, the AAP statement to the media alleged the UPA government had not bothered to investigate what it termed as "an open and shut case of huge money laundering" against the company and its chairman.
"This is despite that fact that the Indian High Commission in Singapore had written to the central government as far back as Aug 31, 2011, requesting such an investigation," said the statement.
The party alleged that Rs.6,530 crore had been invested in some of the arms of Reliance Industries by a company in Singapore, which, it added, not only claimed to be a small firm but also had no office, no equity and filed no tax returns in that country.
"The high commission had stated that all this money has gone into Reliance (Industries) group of companies in India with the major chunk going to Reliance Gas Transportation Infrastructure Ltd., which is a company 100 percent owned by Mukesh Ambani personally."
The Singapore company has since closed, the party said, and sought to name its owner.
But Reliance strongly refuted all the claims.
"The investments by Biometrix were open, transparent and perfectly legitimate transactions in full compliance with the extant regulations. These investments in the Indian companies were made by Biometrix out of loans raised from ICICI Bank, Singapore branch," said the company.
"ICICI Bank has confirmed this fact to the regulators. Regulatory authorities have fully investigated the matter and have found no substance in the allegations of money laundering. The insinuation that this money was from "gold plating" from KG-D6 (Krishna-Godavari gas exploration block awarded to Reliance) is completely irresponsible and false."
The company went on to add that such allegations had been levelled earlier by Bhushan in judicial proceedings in the Delhi High Court and that they had been appropriately responded to, including the letter of Indian high commission in Singapore.
"The allegations that ill-gotten laundered money or profits have either been made or that these have been deposited in the accounts of Mr. Mukesh Ambani through Singapore or otherwise are false and are treated by us with the contempt that they deserve," said the company, also adding that Biometrix has filed its balance sheets and tax returns each year with the Singapore regulators.
"We are refraining from making any further comment at this stage since the allegations relating to Biometrix are a part of judicial proceedings."
(Posted on 27-02-2014)