From IT to ED, why is Raninder Singh facing forex cases?

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BY ANAND SINGH
New Delhi, Oct 27 (IANS)
Even as Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s son Raninder Singh, who is also the President of the National Rifle Association of India, has been asked to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on November 6 in connection with a probe into the latter’s involvement in alleged forex contraventions and for holding untaxed foreign assets, his troubles do not end here as he is also being probed by the Income Tax (I-T) authorities.
On October 23, Raninder Singh was summoned to appear at the ED office in Jalandhar on Tuesday. However, he skipped the ED summon after writing through his lawyer seeking shifting of the questioning date.
Speaking to IANS, Raninder Singh’s counsel Jaiveer Shergill said, “My client has sought an adjournment as he is required to be present before a Parliamentary standing committee for a hearing with regard to the 2021 Olympic Games.”
Shergill said that Raninder Singh has also sought details from the ED about the case in relation to which he has been summoned, as the summon is “vague”.
According to ED officials, Raninder Singh has now been asked to appear before the financial probe agency on November 6.
Earlier this year, the ED had filed an application in a Ludhiana court for the inspection of new documents filed by the I-T department in the cases against the Punjab Chief Minister and his son.
The matter is pending with the district and sessions court in Ludhiana.
Commenting on the I-T department’s allegations against Raninder Singh, Shergill said, “The I-T case against my client is subjudice before a court in Ludhiana. Infect, the court has disallowed the ED application to inspect the files, but despite that we have got fresh ‘vague’ summons without disclosing any details of the matter in which they require my client’s presence.”
Accoding to the I-T department’s submissions in the court, it has been alleged that Raninder Singh has lied about holding bank accounts, foreign assets and about trusts owned by him in the British Virgin Islands.
The I-T department’s documents submitted in a Punjab court alleged that he is the beneficiary of foreign assets maintained and controlled through foreign business entities.
It also alleged that he is the beneficiary of foreign bank accounts maintained with the HSBC Private Bank (SUISSE) S.A. Geneva, Switzerland.
The I-T department claimed that Raninder Singh misguided the agency by claiming that he did not have documents related to his family’s income and trusts abroad.
The I-T department documents revealed that Raninder Singh was a ‘settler’ of Jacaranda Trust, formed in July 2005 in British Virgin Islands between him and the HSBC Trust Company Limited, acting as a trustee of the trust.
According to I-T department, the beneficiaries of the trust are the settler, the settler’s parents and the settler’s children and such other persons who may be included by the trustees.
It also said that as per the documents, the trust deed was signed by Raninder Singh being the settler of the Jacaranda Trust.
“The documents obtained from the competent foreign authorities also revealed that the trust is the beneficial owner of/associated with the British Virgin Islands based entities — Chillingham Holdings Limited, Allworth Venture Holdings Limited, Limerlock International Limited and Mulawala Holdings Limited,” the documents claimed.
The I-T department also alleged that information from foreign authorities revealed that the business entities were holding substantial financial assets like bank accounts in HSBC Private Bank (SUISSE) S.A. Geneva and properties in the UK, Dubai etc.
It said that during further probe, it was revealed that Raninder Singh had a meeting along with his father-in-law Kuldip Singh Dhingra and the representative of HSBC regarding making investment in properties in London through the Jacaranda Trust and its related entities.
The I-T department further alleged that Mulawala Holdings Limited in its corporate decision proposal dated November 6, 2007 had specifically mentioned about the fact that the original request to transfer the property unit P29 Marina Mansions in Dubai held by it to Ferx Asset Holdings Limited was received from Amarinder Singh, a discretionary beneficiary of the Jacaranda Trust, via RM in Dubai.
The agency also submitted in the court that during the recording of Raninder Singh’s statement on April 6, 2015 and April 17, 2015, he had deposed that he has/had no connection with the alleged foreign entities and foreign bank accounts.
The I-T department also alleged that the notification of Swiss Federal Tax Administration in Swiss Federal Gazatte asking Raninder Singh to exercise his right to be heard from publication or disclosure of information itself establishes the fact that he has links in Swiss Bank.

(Anand Singh can be contacted at anand.s@ians.in)

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