Friday, August 25, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pinto brought to India for trial
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Aug 24 — A key accused in the Rs 133-crore urea scam, A.E. Pinto, an agent of Turkish firm ‘Karsan’, was brought here today for trial from the UK by a three-member CBI team.

“I have come here to help the CBI and the Indian police to solve the problem... I don’t know whether I could help, but I will do my level best,” Pinto told reporters soon after he was brought to the CBI headquarters from the airport.

Asked what he wanted to say in his defence, he merely said “where is the question of defence, when I am not an accused.”

Pinto, who was formally taken into custody by the CBI, will be produced before a Delhi court tomorrow. He is the third person in the case to be extradited. With the arrest of Pinto, all the nine accused in the urea scam have been apprehended.

The extradition to India of the UK-based Brazilian businessman is expected to give a fillip to the investigation.

The CBI team led by Mr M.K. Mukherjee, DSP, law officer Mr V.N. Ohja and Mr Hardeep Singh, Inspector, had gone to London on August 21 and brought Pinto here even as the accused made two last minute appeals against the extradition before a British court and the UK’s Home Department.

“We reached London on August 21 and the very next day Pinto moved the High Court there and also made an appeal to the UK Home Department against the extradition, but these were rejected,” Mr Ohja told The Tribune.

According to CBI officials, Pinto, who had introduced a key accused Sambasiva Rao to the Karsan company, had received $ 1.2 million from the Turkish firm in his account in London.

Pinto’s extradition was crucial for the CBI as he could provide details on how money changed hands and who swung the deal in favour of Karsan limited from National Fertilizers Limited.

According to the CBI, the NFL was defrauded by Alankus and Karanci, both of M/s Karsan Ltd and others to the extent of $ 37.62 million (Rs 133 crore) in a fraudulent deal relating to supply of 2 lakh metric ton of urea.

Though 100 per cent cash prepayment was made to Karsan Limited, no supply of urea was made in accordance with the contract.

Pinto, was arrested by the London police on December 11, 1997 at the request of Interpol, New Delhi, following issuance of a warrant of arrest on November 11, 1997 by the special judge here.

Before his arrest by the London police, the Serious Frauds Office, UK, had conducted searches at his residence in October 1997 and seized incriminating documents which showed his involvement in the crime.

The Bow Street Magistrate, London, then considered the request of the Indian Government and ordered his extradition on April 16, 1998. But Pinto, who remained in custody, appealed to various courts and authorities to get the extradition order annulled.

Pinto was finally ordered to be extradited to India after about two and a half years of legal battle.

The CBI had filed a chargesheet in this case on December 26, 1997, against C.K. Ramakrishnan, D.S. Kanwar, M. Sambasiva Rao and B. Sanjeeva Rao, both relatives of a former Prime Minister, Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao, D. Mallesham Goud, Prakash Chander Yadav, son of former Union Minister Ram Lakhan Yadav (all on bail) and Tuncay Alankus and Cihan Karanci (both in judicial custody).

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