Thursday, February 17, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Govt not to reopen hawala case
CVC puts 77 IRS officers on website

NEW DELHI, Feb 16 (PTI) — The government tonight ruled out reopening of the Jain hawala case and termed as “false and baseless” reports that unaccounted money had been detected from prominent political leaders, including four Union Ministers, earlier discharged by court in the scam.

The government issued a press note late in the evening denying a news report in a prominent Hindi daily which suggested that the hawala case against some prominent political leaders, including four Union Ministers discharged by the court, was being reopened on the basis of “further evidence”.

The newspaper report had alleged that the Income Tax Department had found unaccounted money during the course of its investigations.

Earlier in the day, Central Vigilance Commissioner N. Vittal said he had referred to the CBI alleged income tax violations by some politicians charge-sheeted and later acquitted in the hawala case.

Dismissing the allegations as false and baseless, an official spokesperson said as far as the CBI was concerned, some politicians were charge-sheeted in the Jain hawala case but the charges were quashed by the High Court and even the Supreme Court did not uphold the framing of charges.

The spokesperson said: “As a result, all persons accused in the Jain hawala case have been discharged from any criminal liability. In the light of the Supreme Court judgement, the CBI has got no ground to look into these allegations again.”

She said regarding the Income Tax investigations in respect of the ministers mentioned in the news report, “no concealment of income has been determined”.

Commenting on the report, Mr Vittal had told mediapersons: “I have got some information about income tax matters of persons who were in the hawala case. Politicians are not within the purview of the CVC. The only agency which can investigate is the CBI. I have referred it to the CBI.”

Mr Vittal, however, refused to disclose the source of information or the contents. ‘‘I am not going to tell you the names’’, he said.

Asked if the case could be reopened in the wake of reported Income Tax detection, he said: ‘‘I do not know. It depends on the law’’.

A CBI spokesman said the agency was not in a position to comment on the issue.At the daily AICC briefing, a party spokesman declined to comment, saying the party would like to verify the facts. He was replying to questions on the report in the Hindi daily alleging that the senior politicians mentioned included certain Congress leaders.

Meanwhile, Mr Vittal said the government had formally written to the commission to initiate a CBI probe into all major defence purchases since 1985-86.

“The reference dated February 14 has been received. We are studying the matter,” he said.

Meanwhile, undeterred by the controversy already generated, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) today put on its website the names of 77 Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officials against whom it has recommended criminal proceedings or imposition of a “major penalty” for alleged acts of corruption.

Of these officials who belong to Customs, Central Excise and Income Tax, the CVC has recommended launching of criminal proceedings against 10 and imposition of major penalties against 67. The 10 include Assistant Commissioners in different parts of the country and a retired board member.

While sanction for prosecution has been accorded in the case of eight officials, it is awaited in the case of a retired member and an Assistant Commissioner in Mumbai.

According to the CVC list, sanction for prosecution had been issued in the case of a retired Assistant Commissioner in Tiruchirapalli as early as July, 1991 while the latest in case of an Assistant Commissioner in Delhi was issued in December last.

Controversy erupted last month when the commission had put on its website the names of 91 IAS and IPS officers, including some in the rank of Secretary, against whom it had recommended criminal or departmental proceedings on corruption charges.

The CVC gave details of the nature and date of departmental punishment already imposed against a large number of IRS officers, many of whom had retired.

The punishment included reduction to the next lower grade for a certain period of time, cut in monthly pension again for a certain period of time, reduction of pay, withholding of pension and of increment.

However, in several cases the CVC said information on the nature of punishment imposed was awaited.

In as many as 20 cases, the commission was awaiting information from the government, the CVC website showed.

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