Saturday, July 31, 2010

Difficult Times Now

 More Commonwealth Games shame? ED probes cash trail
HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Already fighting off countless controversies, the Delhi Commonwealth Games looks headed towards more embarrassment. This time, it’s a money trail that could link the Organising Committee of the Games to a dubious firm in London.
The Enforcement Directorate has launched a probe into the money trail, on a request from UK tax authorities. The trail — involving as much as £2.5 lakh (approximately Rs 1.8 crore) — goes back to the inauguration of the Queen’s Baton Relay in London last October, which was attended by the President of India and the Queen of England.
Organising Committee's general secretary Lalit Bhanot, in an email, denied any irregularities. He claimed the firm was recommended by the Indian High Commission for hiring vehicles. He also denied a monthly transfer to AM Film’s accounts was taking place.
London-based firm AM Films UK Limited was contracted to provide ‘logistical’ support. The job included transport and organising marshals for the Queen’s Baton Relay in London, government sources told HT.
The firm has claimed it was paid the money, £2,47,469, by the Organising Committee.
When the firm tried to claim tax exemption on the money, UK tax authorities contacted the Indian High Commission to verify the veracity of the firm and its claim. UK tax authorities also told the mission there was no written contract between AM Films and the OC, nor was there a tendering process in a letter dated June 7, 2010, government sources have revealed.
The high commission in turn sent the request for information to the sports ministry, which turned over the investigation to the Enforcement Directorate.
TV news channel TimesNow has also reported it wasn’t just the £2.5 lakh but a monthly transfer of £25,000 that A M Films is receiving. The ED is investigating the matter under Foreign Exchange Management Act rules.
Updates by TimesNow

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