Tag Archives: SIT

CVC has constituted an SIT to probe the charge that NHAI have been bribed by a US firm to bag contracts

Newsroom24x7 Staff

New Delhi: Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari today told Parliament (Lok Sabha) that the Central Vigilance Commission of India has constituted a Special InvestigationTeam of three officers to investigate the charge that National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) have allegedly been bribed by the US based firms to bag contracts during 2011-15 and report to the Commission.

The Minister gave this information to the House in a written reply. This came in response to a starred question on “Bribe to bag contracts” by Dharmendra Yadav of Samajwadi Party and Anwhar Raajhaa of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

The Minister of Road Transport and Highways was asked:

(a) whether officials of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) have allegedly been bribed by the US based firms to bag contracts during 2011-15;

(b) If so, the details thereof along with the reaction of the Government thereto;

(c) Whether the Government has conducted any inquiry in this regard;

(d) If so, the outcome thereof along with the action taken/proposed to be taken by the Government in this regard; and

(e) The names of the National Highways allocated to the said firms along with the present status thereof, State-wise?

According to the reply tabled in the House, the Minister told the House in response to (a) and (b):

“It was reported in media that M/s CDM Smith, through its employees and agents, and those of its wholly owned subsidiary in India (CDM India), paid approximately $1.18 million in bribes to government officials in India in exchange for highway construction supervision and design contracts. This media report emanates from the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division letter dated June 21, 2017 available on their official website. The relevant part of the aforesaid letter is extracted below:

“From approximately 2011 until approximately 2015, employees of CDM Smith’s division responsible for India operations and CDM India illegally paid bribes to officials in the National Highways Authority of India (“NHAI”), India’s state-owned highway management agency and an “instrumentality” under the FCPA, in order to receive contracts from NHAI. The bribes generally were 2-4% of the contract price and paid through fraudulent subcontractors, who provided no actual services and understood that payments were meant to solely benefit the officials.”

The National Highways Authority of India has compiled the list of all the consultancy assignments awarded to the said firm and its associates. The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) and the National Highways Authority of India have initiated steps to obtain the supporting documents so as to take the matter to logical conclusion. MoRTH has taken up the matter with the Ministry of External Affairs as well as the Indian Embassy in USA to liaise with U.S. Department of Justice to obtain the information and records gathered by them during their inquiry.

Incidentally, it may be mentioned that the NHAI had debarred the said firm for a period of 3 (three) months in 2015 from participating/ engagement in future bidding of NHAI projects because of deficiency in services in one of the projects, i.e. Dholpur- Morena Section of NH-3. Similarly, in a lone assignment awarded to the said firm, the NHIDCL has debarred the said firm this year for a period of two years.”

For (c)& (d), the Minister said in his reply that the Central Vigilance Commission of India has constituted a Special InvestigationTeam of three officers to investigate the matter and report to Commission.

(e) Details of projects wherein CDM Smith was engaged by NHAI for Engineering Consultancy Services along with the status of their completion has been attached at Annexure-1.

Newsroom24x7 had taken the lead in pubslishing about the alleged payment of bribe on 11 July 2017 under the heading “BRIBES LINKED TO NHAI CONTRACTS: CDM SMITH TO PAY THE US TREASURY OVER $4 MILLION FOR FCPA VIOLATIONS

There was also a connected investigative report  released by Newsroom24x7 on 17 July 2017  Click here

Income Declaration Scheme 2016 unearths Rs.65250 crore of Undeclared Income and Assets

Newsroom24x7 Staff

currency notesNew Delhi: The Income Declaration Scheme, 2016 has helped in unearthing Rs.65250 crore of undeclared income and assets. In all there were 64275 declarations filed under IDS-2016 up to the midnight of 30 September 2016.

The Income Declaration Scheme, 2016 came into effect from 1 June 2016. It provided an opportunity to persons who had not paid full taxes in the past to come forward and declare their domestic undisclosed income and assets. Declarations could be made online as well in printed copies of the prescribed form up to midnight on 30 September, 2016.

In order to facilitate the taxpayers and to spread awareness about the Scheme, the CBDT issued a number of FAQs to address various queries received. Major issues clarified included manner of declaration of fictitious liability, allowance of cost indexation and holding period benefit for registered immovable property, sanctity of valuation report etc. Difficulties with respect to payment of taxes in a short span were removed by permitting payment of tax in 3 instalments, the last being in September 2017. Absolute confidentiality of the declarations made was promised under the scheme to reassure the declarants.

An appeal was made by the Prime Minister of India to the general public to come clean on taxes due. The FM personally addressed stakeholders at many stations. More than 5500 public meetings in various cities were conducted by the department. Innovative publicity methods like Talkathons, Walkathons, Nukkad Nataks, were used to spread awareness about the Scheme. The Department’s strategic use of taxpayer information and data mining techniques further spurred the declarations.

These steps resulted in a tremendous response from the general public, especially in the last two months. As a consequence, 64275 declarations were filed upto the midnight of 30th September, 2016 with an aggregate of Rs.65250 Crore worth of hitherto undeclared incomes in the form of cash and other assets being declared. With the final stock taking of declarations being filed in physical printed forms all over the country till late night on the last day, this number is likely to be further revised upwards.

This Scheme was the latest initiative of the Government of India towards tackling. The major steps taken by the Government against Black Money in the last 2-1/2 years include:

SIT: Many recommendations accepted such as mandatory quoting of PAN for cash transactions etc.

Legal Framework: Making tax crimes predicate offence under PMLA; Amendment of FEMA to provide for confiscation of domestic assets in place of foreign assets; Enactment of Black Money Law and Amendment to Benami Act.

International Treaties: Signing of FATCA with US; Amendment of Mauritius Treaty; Initiative for signing of Automatic Exchange of Information Treaty with all major countries including Switzerland, Initiatives under BEPS (Based Erosion and Profit Sharing) such as country by country reporting, PoEM ( Place of Effective Management) etc.

Detection and administration of tax evasion cases: Assessment of Rs.8000 crore in HSBC cases as well as filing of 164 prosecution complaints in l75 HSBC cases; detection of Rs.5, 000 crores of undisclosed deposits in foreign accounts made out of ICIJ cases, 55 prosecution cases filed in those cases; Big investigation in Panama cases has led to 250 references being made to other countries asking for details about tax evaders, bank accounts etc. The quantum jump in the searches and survey has resulted in seizure of Rs.1986 crores as well as undisclosed income of Rs.56, 378 crore in the last two and half years. The upgradation of IT capabilities has led to non-intrusive methods of detection of tax evasion. Rs.16, 000 crores received as tax out of one such system of Non-filers of Monitoring System (NMS). 3626 cases of prosecution and compounding in the last two and half years which is more than double as compared to previous two years.

The faith reposed by the Government in the CBDT and the Income tax Department strengthened the administration of the Scheme. This was a major step towards reigning in the parallel economy of the country and merging it with the mainstream. The CBDT endeavours to continuously use non-intrusive methods towards widening and deepening of the tax base.

One year of Modi Rule: People’s confidence has been restored by facing the challenges confronting the nation

Lalit Shastri

Union Minister for Mines and Steel Narendra Singh Tomar addressing a press conference to mark the completion of one year of the NDA government, in Bhopal on June 08, 2015. Minister of State for Mines and Steel Vishnu Deo Sai is also seen.
Union Minister for Mines and Steel Narendra Singh Tomar addressing a press conference to mark the completion of one year of the NDA government, in Bhopal on 8 June 2015. Minister of State for Mines and Steel Vishnu Deo Sai is also seen.

Bhopal: Union Minister for Mines and Steel Narendra Singh Tomar today said when the new Government came to power in New Delhi on 26 May 2014, the country was confronted with diverse problems, including a tottering economy and a series of scams, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi accepted these challenges and within a year he has succeeded in restoring people’s confidence in the Government by ensuring speedy and transparent decisions and firm steps to combat the scourge of corruption.

Tomar was addressing a press conference here to mark the completion of one year of the NDA government on Monday. Giving a panoramic view of the overall scenario, he said that under the leadership of Narendra Modi, the Centre-State relations have improved and the states are now enjoying more power. Our relations with neighburing countries and also with other countries have improved, he said adding India’s, GDP from 5% last year, has now gone up to 7.4%. Similarly the inflation rate has also come down from 10% last year to 5 % this year.

At the Prime Minister’s initiative, Tomar said, the Black Money Bill was introduced and passed by both Houses of Parliament and the Special Investigation Team (SIT) is in place to combat black money. The Minister brought under spotlight the CAG conclusion that the exchequer suffered a loss of Rs. 1,76000 crore in coal allocation and emphasised the the fact that this amount is much less than the loss in real terms. To explain the point, Tomar said that with the auction of just 34 of the 204 coal allocations cancelled, Rs. 2,00,000 crore have been raised. Even in the spectrum acution a revenue of Rs. 1,10,000 crore has been generated.

Tomar underscored the amendments to the Mining and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act and said that illegal mining now has higher penalties up to 5 lakh rupees and imprisonment up to 5 years. Regarding the Farm sector, he said that adequate relief is now guaranteed to farmers suffering damage to their standing crops due to natural calamities. Now the compensation for crop damage due to natural calamity will be assessed on the basis of crop damage of 33% and not 50%, he pointed out.

The Minister said that the Prime Minister’s Rural Road project will be carried forward and 50,000 kilomters of new tar roads are planned to be constructed to connect villages. The priority is also to expand the irrgation capacity to cover every piece of agriculture land in the country.

Tomar drew attention to the Jan Dhan scheme launched by Prime Minister Modi to provide bank accounts to the poor and how 15 million bank accounts with a deposit of Rs. 15000 crore, have been opened under this scheme.

The Minister said that 50 crore people in India are working in the unorganised sector. For them the smart card scheme has been introduced. He also threw light on the ambitious Atal Pension Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojna.

On the mining front, Tomar said that the Centre has not been discriminatory towards any state and pointed out that all the states are going to benefit from the hike in mining royalty. To eliminate corruption and bring accountability, the only route for mineral allocation now will be e-auction. In India, there is mining potential in 8,00,000 square kilometers but miningis being done only on 1% of this area. hence a Mineral Exploration Fund is is being set up for exploration purpose.

The Steel Ministry plays the role of coordination. Spelling out the target, he said Steel Authority of India (SAIL) now produces 13 million tonnes of Steel and by September this year the capacity will increase to 23 million tonnes. The target is to touch 50 million tonnes by 2025.

Modi reiterates commitment to transform quality of life, infrastructure and services

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

New Delhi: On the first anniversary of his government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said our objective is to transform quality of life, infrastructure and services. He also gave the assurance to the people that the goal is to “build the India of your dreams and that of our freedom fighters.”

In a letter to the people to mark his one year in office, the PM has said: “We assumed office at a time when confidence in the India story was waning. Un-abated corruption and indecisiveness had paralyzed the government. People had been left helpless against ever climbing inflation and economic insecurity.”

Stressing that urgent and decisive action was needed, the Prime Minister said runaway prices were immediately brought under control. The languishing economy was rejuvenated, building on stable, policy-driven proactive governance. Discretionary allotment of our precious natural resources to a chosen few was replaced with transparent auctions. Firm steps were taken against Black Money, from setting up an SIT and passing a stringent black money law, to generating international consensus against the same.

Uncompromising adherence to the principle of purity, in action as well as intent, has ensured a corruption-free government Modi has stated in his letter adding significant changes have been brought about in work culture, nurturing a combination of empathy as well as professionalism, systems as well breaking of silos. State governments have been made equal partners in the quest for national development, building the spirit of Team India. Most importantly, we have been able to restore Trust in the government, he has pointed out.

The PM has underscored the achievements of his government by stating that guided by the principle of Antyodaya, his Government is dedicated to the poor, marginalized and those left behind. He has further said in his letter: ‘We are working towards empowering them to become our soldiers in the war against poverty. Numerous measures and schemes have been initiated – from making school toilets to setting up IITs, IIMs and AIIMS; from providing a vaccination cover to our children to initiating a people-driven Swachh Bharat mission; from ensuring a minimum pension to our labourers to providing social security to the common man; from enhancing support to our farmers hit by natural calamities to defending their interests at WTO; from empowering one and all with self attestation to delivering subsidies directly to people’s banks; from universalizing the banking system to funding the unfunded small businesses; from irrigating fields to rejuvenating the Ganga River; from moving towards 24×7 power to connecting the nation through road and rail; from building homes for the homeless to setting up smart cities, and from connecting the North-East to prioritizing development of Eastern India.
In another letter to the people on economic issues, the PM said:

One year ago, you had entrusted me with the task of building a new India and putting a derailed economy back on track. We have achieved a lot. Economic growth has been revived, and is among the fastest in the world. Inflation is substantially down. Fiscal prudence has been restored. Confidence is up. Foreign investments have increased. This positive outlook is endorsed by major rating agencies and international institutions across the world.

Bold reforms pending for decades have been implemented. Diesel prices have been decontrolled. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is slated to be introduced next year. By facilitating companies to Make in India through a focus on Ease of Doing Business, new jobs are being created. Cooking gas subsidies are being paid directly to beneficiary bank accounts under PAHAL – ensuring the right amount of subsidy, reaches the right people, at the right time. FDI limits in insurance, railways and defence production have been raised. Moreover, we have embraced the states as equal partners in national development, working as Team India in the spirit of cooperative and competitive federalism.

Political interference in public sector banking decisions is a thing of the past. Transparent coal auctions and allotments have mobilized potential revenues of Rs. 3.35 lakh crores to coal-bearing states over the lifespan of mines. And reform in the Mines Act has replaced a discretionary mechanism with a transparent auction process. To combat black money, a Special Investigation Team has been appointed and a new stringent law passed.

Nearly Rs. 1 lakh crores of public investment have been allocated in this year’s budget to improve physical as well as digital connectivity. A comprehensive transformation of the railways into a locomotive of growth has begun. Stalled highway projects are being restructured and revived. Power generation is at an all-time high. A new National Infrastructure Investment Fund has been set up with an annual government funding of Rs. 20,000 crores.

Economic growth benefits all Indians. Growth however, has meaning only if it empowers the poor, farmers, women, as well as middle and neo-middle classes of all communities. To enable us to continue paying remunerative prices to our farmers, we secured a permanent ‘peace clause’ at the WTO. The world’s largest financial inclusion project has brought banking to the doorsteps of the poor, opening a record 15 crore plus bank accounts with deposits of over Rs. 15,800 crores. An affordable social security system including pension, life insurance and accident insurance, has already witnessed 6.75 crore enrolments in its first week. MUDRA has been set up with a corpus of Rs. 20,000 crores to help our small businessmen, who despite being our biggest job creators have historically been starved of credit.

A lot has been achieved. However, this is just the beginning. There is much more to be done and I know your expectations are high. A year ago I gave you my word that while I might perhaps commit errors, I would always act with pure intentions and spend every available moment working for a better India. I have kept my word. I seek your continued support, suggestions and blessings in building the India of our dreams.