India Court Orders Report on Biometrix’s Reliance InvestmentPratap Patnaik and Rakteem Katakey
India’s top court today asked the federal government to file a report on what it had done regarding a letter written by the Indian High Commissioner in Singapore on investments in units of Reliance Industries Ltd.
“We want to know what inquiry was done and what was done about the matter after the letter from the Indian High Commission,” a two-judge panel headed by Justice B.S. Chauhan said in New Delhi today during hearings on a petition about natural-gas pricing.
The government’s lawyer Mohan Parasaran said in court today he’d file a reply.
Prashant Bhushan, a lawyer and member of the Aam Aadmi Party, which ruled Delhi state for 49 days until February after rising to power from a anti-corruption campaign, alleged in court today that Singapore-based Biometrix Marketing Pvt., which invested in some Reliance units, had no assets or equity. He cited a letter written by India’s High Commissioner on Aug. 31, 2011, requesting an investigation into the transaction. Bhushan didn’t mention the name of the High Commissioner in his arguments or his petition.
Tushar Pania, a spokesman for Reliance, said the company wouldn’t comment beyond statements issued last month. The Mumbai-based company said on Feb. 27 that Bhushan’s allegations of “laundered monies” were baseless, “false, irresponsible and devoid of any merit or substance whatsoever.”
Bhushan accused Reliance of money laundering on Feb. 27.
In the statement last month, Reliance said Biometrix raised the money to invest in Reliance units through borrowings from ICICI Bank Ltd.’s Singapore branch. It attached four faxes from the bank to Biometrix regarding approval of the loan in another statement the next day.
Reliance Industries shares rose 1.4 percent to 891.2 rupees in Mumbai trading today.