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Investigators go easy on US-indicted middleman

Investigators go easy on US-indicted middleman

Author: J Gopikrishnan
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: December 13, 2011
URL: http://dailypioneer.com/pioneer-news/todays-newspaper/25962-investigators-go-easy-on-us-indicted-middleman.html

Indian investigating and enforcement agencies have not cracked down on a politically connected middleman even after the US counterparts provided them with details of his 'frozen' unaccounted deposit of around $400 million in several Swiss Bank accounts.

The middleman, Sanjay Pasari, operating mainly in the coal and mining sector, was implicated by the US Justice Department and Securities & Exchange Commission in late 2010 in a probe related to bribing of Indian officials, while acting as an agent of multinational mining giant Bucyrus, which has now merged with Caterpillar.

A Geneva court order passed on February 16, 2011 upon the alert issued by US authorities under International Criminal Mutual Aid, froze (probative sequestration) accounts of Sanjay Pasari (No. 2952334), his brother Rajiv Pasari (a/c no: 1996090), their firm Savan Foundation (a/c no: 1159024) and his company Infotech Guernsey (a/c no : 189502) at Lloyds TSB Bank in Switzerland.

The court order available with The Pioneer shows that the Swiss Government also blocked accounts linked to Pasari in the name of Vishwa Industrial Co Pvt Ltd, VT Industries Ltd Squirrel Developers, Niraj Kumar Pasari, Davind Lee, the former director of Bucyrus' Indian subsidiary and CET Consulting Engineering Trading Anstalt Vaduz.

Most of these companies are registered in Pasari's home turf, Kolkata.

Even after getting such sensitive and concrete information of huge black money stash of an Indian citizen in foreign banks, the Government here has done precious little to proceed against Pasari.

The CBI has only issued alerts to Ministries connected with coal, mining, steel and fertilisers by placing Pasari on the 'Undesirable Contact Men' list, which warns Government officials to avoid contact with such persons.

The Government's inaction against Pasari comes in the backdrop of the fact that he is closely associated with political heavyweights, including a former Cabinet Minister in the UPA-I and politicians from Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and the North East.

"US authorities are in the process of also seizing his accounts in Dubai, London, Mauritius and Guernsey Islands. By mid-2012, US authorities would finish the seizure procedures in London," said a highly placed official.

Pasari's name also surfaced in Madhu Koda's scam, following which the Enforcement Directorate had also initiated probe against him. In 2006, he was wanted in some cases when Jharkhand cracked down on illegal miners, added a source.

Pasari's role in bribing Indian PSUs and their officials first was detected by the auditors of the Caterpillar engaged for finalising Bucyrus merger with it. When Pasari was questioned by US authorities, he is reported to have admitted of paying $ 2 million as bribe on behalf of Bucyrus to officials of a coal sector PSU during 2009-10 for striking a big mining deal. Pasari made this disclosure under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of America, according to sources.

Pasari was also asked to submit all documents and bank accounts relating to his operations. According to documents available with The Pioneer, apart from Coal India, Pasari has dealings with several PSUs like National Mineral Development Corporation, Bharat Earth Movers, Power Finance Corporation and McNally Bharat Engineering Company Ltd.

"The US investigations proved that he had parked ill gotten wealth in all tax havens across the world.

He even formed charity organizations like Savan Foundation for alleged money laundering," said sources. Savan's account has also been frozen in Switzerland.

According to the notice served by US investigators, Pasari operated from three locations - 62A Hazara Road, Kolkata; B-21 Rashidiya. PO Box 51031, Dubai; and Anson Court, Les Campus, St.Martin's in Guernsey Island, a British crown dependency in the English Channel.

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