Friday, March 18, 2011

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund

Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund

The Natural calamity of strong quake coupled with Tsunami created enormous damage that struck Northeastern Japan on March 11 Japan NE region has been devastating. Rough estimates place those dead and missing in the thousands and at the moment of crisis there is little that untrained volunteers can do to help on the ground. We all can do right now,is to help raise funds to support both the relief for Japan organizations working in the affected areas,and the extensive reconstruction work that will follow.

Our work would brought home the importance of non-governmental funding that allows civil society to respond in a timely and flexible manner.Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund will provide effective,accountable, and timely support to trusted partners working in the affected areas.

Foreign funds traced in 2G scam

Foreign transactions in connection with the 2G scam have been traced to at least six countries, including Mauritius and Virgin Islands, and hawala route was also used, the Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday told the Supreme Court.Presenting its status report before a bench of justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly in a sealed envelope, the agency also said that it had found that a person had paid Rs 100 crore for liaisoning.

The bench, which at one point observed that "it is a huge money", went through the report and said "prima facie there is violation of law of the land".The ED said that 31 companies have so far been summoned and statements of 26 companies have been recorded.The agency reported that it has sought the help of foreign countries in tracking the source of money.

Senior Advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for ED, said that that Letters Rogatory has been sent to Singapore, Cyprus, Jersey and Virgin Islands in connection with the 2G spectrum scam.Similar communications were being sent to two more countries.
He said that some hawala operators were also involved in the scam and their premises were raided and they were questioned by the ED.Venugopal did not reveal the names of individuals and companies mentioned in the report.He said day-to-day details of transactions in a bank account have been mentioned in the report as the account holder had failed to explain the source of Rs 2.5 crore lying with him.

He has been asked to submit the documents.ED in its report also mentioned that after granting licence, a person sold his equity in the company and he made huge monetary gains which has traced to Mauritius.It said that a person has paid Rs 100 crore for liasioning.The Court after going through the report says that prima facie there seems to be violation of law of the land."Networks are vast. Their connections are in many countries and prima facie there is a violation of law of land," the court said.The court asked the ED about how many people are involved in investigating the scam to which the ED said there are four teams which are involved in cracking the case.

During the hour-long proceeding, the agency also sought the court's intervention to restrain the media from questioning its credentials in the case by making "baseless" allegations against it.

The agency referred to media reports in which it was said that its Chief A K Mathur was trying to scuttle the probe on the direction of the Finance Ministry.

Expressing satisfaction over the probe done by the ED, the bench such reports "deserve to be ignored".

"The matter is serious. Court would protect everyone. It is not proper to indulge in character assassination," the court said while adjourning the case for Wednesday for further arguments in the case.

The court was hearing a petition filed by an NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation on whose plea CBI probe was ordered by the apex court which is also monitoring the investigation in the 2G spectrum allocation scam which allegedly caused a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to public exchequer.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, said that the CBI and the ED should also probe into quid-pro-quo arrangement between the DMK and Tatas as the land was alloted to the political party after the company got dual license during the tenure of A Raja.

Venugopal, however, opposed the contentions of Bhushan and said that he should not make oral allegations and referred to the last hearing when he had spoken about alleged links of Union Minister Sharad Pawar with the 2G scam."All the media reported on what he(Bhushan) said but when he filed his affidavit he did not substantiate his allegation. This should be stopped," he said.

In the last hearing on 1st March, CBI had in its report named the CEOs and promoters of ten companies as among 63 persons who have come under the scanner for their alleged involvement in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.The court had expressed satisfaction about the progress in the probe into the case and asked the agency to file status report on 15th March.

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