July 05, 2020
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The Dead-end

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The Dead-end
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ST KITT'S CASE – Status: As good as closed
Seven years after it broke, the CBI was forced to admit in its petition of March 25, 1996, at the Delhi High Court that "P.V. Narasimha Rao had a limited role" in the forgery of documents relating to V.P. Singh's son Ajeya Singh involving a phoney bank in the Caribbean island. Said the CBI counsel: "The role of Rao, then external affairs minister, was found to be limited only to the extent of his asking the consul-general (in New York) for attestation of the said (forged) documents."

SUGAR SCAM – Status: Case buried
Former food minister Kalpnath Rai claims Prabhakar Rao and the PMO were directly responsible for the sugar scam of 1994 that cost the nation Rs 650 crore. After hedging for too long a time, one million tonnes of sugar were imported, by which time international prices had shot up. Says Rai: "I was under tremendous pressure not to spill the beans." He says Prabhakar Rao influ-enced ministry officials, who in turn placed orders with some foreign firms for the import of sugar without consulting Rai. Prabhakar Rao told him over the phone not to rescind the order.

GOLDSTAR CASE – Status: No criminal liability found
Hyderabad-based firm Goldstar, of which Prabhakar Rao was a director, applied for a Rs 2-crore loan to the little-known Andhra Bank Financial Services Ltd (ABFSL) in 1992. ABFSL, instead of refusing or complying, got securities scam accused Hiten Dalal to fund the company. Rao claims the loan was returned in time. There was no criminal investigation except for a joint probe by the Department of Company Affairs and SEBI. Their report did not find any "criminal liability" in Rao's conduct. Action initiated against three lowly ABFSL officials.

HARSHAD MEHTA CASE – Status: No case registered
'Big Bull' Harshad Mehta, the main accused in the multi-crore securities scam, startled the world when he announced at a press conference—accompanied by lie-detector and all—that he had personally paid Rs 1 crore to Narasimha Rao at the prime minister's residence in June 1993 for use in the assembly elections that November. Preliminary investigations found no 'prima facie' evidence in the charge, but for the first time a prime minister stood accused publicly. Significantly, Rao did not deem it necessary to commence defamation proceedings.

SATISH SHARMA LARGESSE – Status: SC studying documents
Members of the Rao family got out-of-turn allotments of petrol pumps and gas agencies thanks to minister Satish Sharma. PVN's nephew G.V. Rajeshwar Rao, granddaughter P. Satyasri among beneficiaries. Nephews V. Rajeshwara Rao, Madan Mohan Rao and Sharat Kumar, too, 'associated' with LPG agencies. The Supreme Court is examining the discretionary allotments.

LAKHUBHAI PATHAK CASE – Status: Chandraswami in custody, Rao spared scrutiny
Rao and his immediate family have often been linked to Chandraswami. The alleged cheating of NRI Lakhubhai Pathak in 1983 by the godman brought the link into close focus. UK-based Pathak told Indian Express that Narasimha Rao, who was then external affairs minister, was present at the Holhoron Hotel in New York when Chandraswami allegedly promised contacts back home for $100,000. Pathak says Rao told him: "Swamiji has told me everything. Your work will be done".

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