Money laundering and dirty linen

Great. We have just discovered that there is money laundering. It is, of course, an election issue like everything that is happening these days…

But first, let us see how the story unfolds.

The Supreme Court suggested to the Centre that it examine the suitability of lodging cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against persons suspected to have parked black money abroad to force foreign banks to share confidential data with India.

The prominent case making headlines is of Pune businessman Hasan Ali Khan, alleged to have transacted $8 billion from his wife’s Swiss bank account. Said senior advocate Anil Divan:

“Prima facie this is a clear case which can be brought under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. It’s clear that the Swiss authorities would be bound to disclose information if criminal cases were initiated against him apart from tax evasion.’’

Now, the issue gets politicised:

Without referring to the details of the Centre’s affidavit claiming that a systematic investigation was being conducted into the case, Divan cast doubt on the UPA’s intention to retrieve the money, which the petitioners pegged at Rs 70 lakh crore. He said, “Is it unreasonable to infer that the Centre is interested in protecting powerful individuals who may be using Hasan Ali Khan and his wife as their nominee/benamidar?’’

It also gets entangled in a mess.

While objecting to the Congress getting the BJP involved, Ram Jethmalani goes about it at a tangent:

“Illicit funds from India parked in foreign banks and foreign tax havens could be used for funding terrorists and subversive activities.”

This Hassan Ali ought to be tried for tax evasion and money laundering. The case has been going on for a while. Why this sudden burst of concern about subversive activities? Are they not aware that businessmen from big industrial houses have Swiss accounts? Come on, Mr. Jethmalani shares his evening drinks with them at the club, so let’s not pretend.

If this is a response to the Bofors skulduggery, then it is a weak attempt. And devious. Ottavio Quottrochi is known to be involved, but so are our politicians. And they are ours. How about all those kickback cases in various deals, big and small?

We tend to forget so many things, don’t we?

Besides attempts to hide these skeletons, we now also have to put up with electronic media’s ignorant heroes:

As R. K. Laxman put it pithily in this cartoon:

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