-The Economic Times
The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India's overseas intelligence agency, has told the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate that it has unearthed hawala transactions allegedly linked to former telecom minister A Raja.
RAW has written to the investigative agencies - the communication was sent at the end of July - asking them to take "necessary action", a top government official told ET on condition of anonymity.
The note from RAW alleges that one of the promoters of the Chennai-based JG Group, Rajesh Jain, is associated with "hawala dealings" of Raja and his "other associates".
"Rajesh Jain, a Dubai-based individual and one of the promoters of the Chennai-based JG Group is reported to be associated with hawala dealings of Shri A Raja, former Union minister for Telecommunications and his other associates," RAW has told the agencies. The note, whose contents were described to ET by people familiar with it, has not specified who these associates are. It alleges that Jain has established a number of "dummy" companies in the UAE, Hong Kong, China and other countries which are used "for the purpose of money laundering".
Hawala is a term used to define money transfers avoiding usual banking routes and is generally connected with illegal operations. Raja refused to comment on the matter.
Info may Unearth Money Trail
His lawyer, Manu Sharma told ET that no investigating agency has questioned Raja on the information furnished by RAW and therefore, he would not be able to comment.
When contacted by this paper in Dubai, Rajesh Jain said he would not be able to "say anything over the phone." He did not respond to a questionnaire sent on Friday claiming he was on vacation and could not access his email.
The other two owners of the JG Group are Daulat Jain and Mahesh Jain, brothers of Rajesh Jain who look after the Chennai and Delhi offices of the group. The CBI had searched the offices of the Jain brothers as part of a sprawling investigation into decisions by the former telecom minister who is facing trial for awarding telecom licences and spectrum to companies that were not eligible.
So far, none of the Jain brothers have been charged by the agency in the socalled 2G scam. But the information provided by RAW has got investigators excited as it could provide evidence of a "money trail" to the 2G case, says the official quoted earlier. There is no mention of hawala dealings in the charges filed by the CBI against Raja and there is no reference to any consideration received by the DMK leader for the decisions for which he is on trial.
The note from RAW refers to three companies allegedly set up by Rajesh Jain in Dubai — Euro eagle General Trading FZC, Global Trade Commodities DMCC and King Power Industrial Limited — which were, according to the intelligence agency, used to "park considerable amounts." The document mentions accounts held by two of the companies, Euro Eagle and King Power, in the Emirates NBD bank.
Two of these accounts, according to RAW, contain fixed deposits in excess of $20 million and are linked to the former minister. Based on the fresh information provided by RAW, ED has sent letters rogatory, essentially, requests for information, to Dubai seeking further details on the bank accounts mentioned by RAW. The CBI will summon the Jain brothers for questioning, says a senior official in the agency, and is also likely to question Raja on the matter.
The official said he was not sure of whether the Emirates authorities and the bank would co-operate. "The Emirates NBD bank has been uncooperative in the past on another case," says the official.
In the past, investigative agencies have often claimed to be on verge of unearthing overseas financial dealings of those accused in the 2G scam.
But they have struggled to unearth proof that can be presented in court. Officials say this is because of "non cooperation" by foreign governments.