- In what is thought to be the first step in unmasking black money hoarders who are possibly defrauding the country’s exchequer, the Narendra Modi government at the centre has revealed three names. Upon the direction of the Supreme Court, names of business tycoons have been revealed via an affidavit filed in court. The three names that figured in the affidavit are Pradip Burman, Pankaj Chimanlal Lodhia, and Ms Radha S Timblo. (Source – One India)
- Who are these people? These are not the usual suspects when we speak of scams and money laundering schemes in India. We tend to think of corrupt politicians first and foremost but the government has chosen to reveal other names to begin with.
- Pradip Burman is the director of the Dabur Group, which manufactures products such as toothpaste, hair oil, chyawanprash and more. He is a part of the business family that owns the Dabur brand. He studied mechanical engineering from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Boston, USA and joined the family business headquartered in Kaushambi, in Uttar Pradesh. His claims to fame include having been the MD of Vidogum and Chemicals Ltd., Chairman of Delhi-based Ayurvet Limited and setting up Sanat Products Limited (company that manufactures Spirulina).
- When it was announced that Pradip Burman was one of those named account holders in foreign banks, the shares of Dabur were seen to plummet 9%. Though the stock rallied later in the day the stock remained 3.7% lower at the end of the day. (Source – India Today) The black money charge made against Burman has been rejected by a statement issued by Dabur. According to the statement, the account was opened by Burman when he was an NRI and falls within the ambit of applicable laws. (Source – IBN)
- Pankaj Chimanlal Lodhiya is the Rajkot based bullion trader is the second name in the affidavit however he has outright denied having an account in a Swiss bank or indeed any foreign bank account at all. He claimed to be “shocked” when he heard from the media about his being named and avers that he is willing to fully cooperate with authorities in the matter.( Source – Times of India) Lodhiya is thechairman of the Shreeji Group of companies which consists of Shreeji Ornaments Pvt Ltd, Shreeji Trading Company and Shreeji Realty.
- The third name that occurred in the govenement’s affidavit is that of Radha Satish Timblo, who is part of the Timblo family of Goa known for mining and the Goa hotel Cicade de Goa in Dona Paula. Along with Radha Timblo, other directors of the company – Chetan, Anna, Rohan and Mallika have also been named in the affidavit.
- The charge against Radha Timblo inter alia is that she and her company has been the beneficiary of illegal mining licenses. When asked about her name being mentioned in the affidavit by members of the media, she was quick to dodge the question and riposted saying that she would say nothing until she saw the affidavit. She is also known to be one of the highest tax payers and a couple of years ago, had paid advance tax of over 30 crores in 2009-10 (Scroll down for a brief video) .
- What now remains to be seen is what other names the government has up its sleeve; whether we are about to see well known politicians being named and whether the truly big black money culprits are going to be brought to book. One also wonders why it is that only those people who have no political connections and affiliations have been picked to be named? One does hope this is not going to be a case of खोदा पहाड़ निकला चूहा
Video courtesy – IndiaTV