Hours after Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi asked the Prime Minister to clarify whether he had received money from Sahara Group of companies before the 2014 general election, BJP supporters began trolling him on Twitter, alleging that the charges had already been rejected by the Supreme Court and therefore the Congress leader was ‘insulting’the apex court. But the fact is that the petition is still pending before the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has actually fixed January 11, 2017 for looking at the fresh and detailed affidavit that the Common Cause lawyer Prashant Bhushan offered to submit with fresh evidence. The court had observed that a list containing names and amounts could be fabricated and could not be reason enough for ordering an investigation.
However, Common Cause is expected to point out that these papers were admitted recovered from the company’s premises, that they were seized by Government agencies, that they also bear the signature and seal of Income Tax officials and witnesses, that a forensic examination conducted by the Delhi Government’s Forensic Lab had confirmed the signature on the paper to bear a striking resemblance to the signature of Income Tax official Ankita Pandey, that company officials have been quizzed by the Department and they admitted that the papers were part of their record. It is also possible that the company has offered by now to pay tax on the amount specified in the papers.
In 1996 the Central Bureau of Investigation had recovered diaries from businessman Surinder Kumar Jain and his brother, which named politicians who had been paid by them. While a lower court ordered the CBI to prosecute the politicians named, the higher courts felt the evidence was not sufficient. The Supreme Court later ruled that the Money Trail had to be established for prosecution. The diaries named politicians from both Congress and the BJP including Lal Krishna Advani, Madan Lal Khurana, Madhavrao Scindia, VC Shukla and Balram Jakhar among others.
The Supreme Court in the Jain Hawala case had ruled that if names of politicians or public servants were found listed in future in similar fashion, a proper and independent inquiry should be conducted. What Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi has asked is a clarification whether such an inquiry has already been held.
There has always been suspicion that companies engage in money laundering and actually service money belonging to politicians themselves. Otherwise no business or industry can afford to bankroll political parties or politicians with their hard-earned profit. It is therefore far from clear whether Sahara was paying donations to politicians for contesting and campaigning in the General Election of 2014 or whether it was merely keeping a record of the money that politicians had kept with it for safe keeping and which it was returning in instalments.