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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 947

Kejriwal targets Ambani brothers, HSBC and Jet Airways chief

From R. Vasudevan—Reporting from New Delhi
New Delhi, 10 November (Asiantribune.com):

Making fresh allegations, activist Arvind Kejriwal on Friday targeted multinational HSBC Bank of indulging in money laundering and claimed that Ambani brothers, Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goyal and Congress MP Annu Tandon had stashed their black money in its Geneva branch.

Addressing a press conference in New delhi, Kejriwal and lawyer Prashant Bhushan alleged around Rs6,000 crore of black money was lying in 700 accounts of the Geneva branch of the bank.

While the bank reacted cautiously to the charge saying that it takes compliance with the law wherever it operates very seriously, the Ambani brothers rejected the allegations and denied having any accounts there. Goyal, on the other hand, said by virtue of being an NRI he was entitled to have foreign bank account but he also said he did not have any account in HSBC Bank, Geneva.

Similarly Burman brothers, promoters of Dabur India, who have been accused of having accounts in HSBC Bank, Geneva, said "these accounts" were opened by the family members when they were NRI and were legally allowed to open such accounts. "...It is unfortunate that every person having a foreign bank account is being painted with the same brush," Dabur India said in a statement.

Describing the allegations as baseless and motivated, Tandon, also a former Managing Director of Motech Software, said "you go and ask him on what basis he is making such allegations. I don't think he has anything to prove this."

Kejriwal and Bhushan claimed that people who had deposited "small amounts of money" in the bank were raided but "big fish" like Mukesh and Anil Ambani, Goyal, Tandon and Burmans (Anand, Pradeep and Ratan) of Dabur were "let off" at the behest of the government.

The activists claimed that the Ambani brothers had Rs100 crore each, Reliance Group's Motech Software Rs2,100 crore, late Sandeep and AnuTandon Rs125 crore each, Goyal Rs80 crore and Dabur's Burman brothersRs25 crore in the list of around 700 people having accounts in HSBC as of 2006.

Ambani denial

The Ambani brothers on Friday rejected allegations by Arvind Kejriwal that they had parked blackmoney in HSBC Bank in Geneva and denied that they had any accounts there. Strongly denying the allegations, Mukesh Ambani-headed Reliance Industries Ltd said neither RIL or Mukesh have or had any "illegitimate" accounts anywhere in the world.

"As part of normal business, international subsidiaries of RIL deal with several global banks including HSBC. These accounts are fully in compliance with all regulations and are disclosed in their appropriate jurisdictions and in India. "The continued tirade of baseless allegations being made by IAC against us appears to be instigated by vested interests," an RIL statement said.

In a separate statement, the Anil Ambani-headed Reliance Group categorically denied all allegations made by Kejriwal against him. "Mr Anil D Ambani had no bank accounts with HSBC in Geneva," it said. The Reliance Group statement said it is "regrettable that such baseless allegations are being made by IAC at the behest of vested interests".

Jet’s Naresh Goyal refutes charges

Rejecting allegations of stashing away unaccounted money in Swiss accounts, Jet Airways on Friday said there is no account in the name of its Chairman Naresh Goyal in HSBC Bank, Geneva, though he is entitled to have bank accounts outside India as he is an NRI.

"There is no account in the name Mr Naresh Goyal in the Swiss bank as has been alleged. Besides, Naresh Goyal has been an NRI since January 1991. He is entitled to have bank accounts outside India. "The suggestion that there has been any unaccounted money stashed away in Swiss accounts is entirely false," a statement issued by Jet Airways said.

The carrier said Goyal as an NRI and had received a routine enquiry letter from the Income Tax Department regarding a bank account at HSBC Geneva of M/S Tailwinds Ltd, a company based in the Isle of Man. "The existence of the company M/S Tailwinds is fully disclosed to various departments of the government of India. All questions have been satisfactorily replied to the Income Tax Department," it said.

- Asian Tribune -

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