The two friends accused of Rs.500 crore scam
Amitabh Bachchan and Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh have been accused of involvement in a Rs.500 crore money laundering scam, according to a complaint lodged with Kanpur police.
Lodged by local businessman Shivkant Tripathi late on Thursday (Oct 15), the first information report has charged the two well-known faces, who are close friends, of being involved in a major fraud through money laundering.
"The complainant has accused Amar Singh of floating half a dozen companies in which 43 companies were amalgamated allegedly with the intent of siphoning off tonnes of black money," Uttar Pradesh's additional director general of police Brij Lal told reporters in Lucknow on Friday (Oct 16).
"Amitabh Bachchan figures among the key stake holders in most of the companies, while Amar Singh's wife Pankaja Singh is shown as a partner," he said.
According to Lal, "The companies, mostly registered in Kolkata, were identified as Eastern India Chemicals Pvt Ltd, Sarvottam Pvt Ltd, Pankaja Art and Credit Pvt Ltd, EDCL Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, EDCL Powers Ltd and Energy Development Company."
Cases were registered under the Money Laundering Act as well as Prevention of Corruption Act.
"The provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act could be invoked in view of Amar Singh's then appointment as chairman of the UP Development Council," the official said.
While complainant Tripathi could not be contacted, cops were not sure how they would proceed with the case.
"A case of fraud has been registered with the Babupurwa police station and only after preliminary investigations are done will we be in a position to affirmatively comment on the actual extent of the alleged fraud," he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav termed the FIR filed against party general secretary Amar Singh and Amitabh Bachchan as a "conspiracy", and said he sensed that Chief Minister Mayawati had a "hand in it".
"Such a frivolous case against such prominent people could not have been lodged without the connivance of the government and I have reason to believe that the chief minister too has a hand in it," Mulayam told a press conference in Lucknow on Oct 16.
Terming the FIR registered under the provisions of the Money Laundering Act and the Prevention of Corruption Act, as a "conspiracy", he said: "There can be no doubt that the whole thing is politically motivated."
"Earlier also Mayawati has played dirty against persons associated with the Samajwadi Party, but eventually she failed in her design."
And virtually throwing the gauntlet at the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, the Samajwadi Party chief said: "I challenge these petty conspirators to try whatever they can, but they will not be able to cause the least harm to Amitabh Bachchan or to Amar Singh, whose stature is far too tall to get affected by such acts."
Mulayam Singh also sought to urge the prime minister to intervene and initiate "appropriate punitive action against all those responsible for hatching this conspiracy."
Recalling how the BSP leadership had earlier tried to hound him, he said: "Mayawati got as many as 149 cases lodged against me in one of her earlier stints as chief minister, but not one could pass the judicial scrutiny, which clearly reflects the political motivations behind such moves."
Meanwhile, sticking to his guns, Shivkant Tripathi, the man who filed the police complaint against Amar Singh and Amitabh Bachchan for allegedly laundering illegal money, ruled out any political hand behind the move.
"I am a social activist and chose to take up this issue because it involves a major fraud by people who are icons and political bigwigs," he told mediapersons in Lucknow.
He said: "If I have lodged the case, it was not without supporting evidence which runs into more than 1,700 pages of documents, that also depict the stakes Amitabh Bachchan has in the whole affair."
Maintaining that Amar Singh had juggled with balance sheets to siphon away lots of black money, Tripathi said: "If Amar Singh's political mentors were so confident that no fraud had been committed, then why were they so opposed to an open investigation?