Home / Politics / Policy /  Niira Radia’s firm seeks Sachin Pilot intervention as SFIO readies prosecution

New Delhi: As Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) prepares prosecution against lobbyist Niira Radia’s Vaishnavi firms for companies law violation, the group on Sunday asked corporate affairs minister Sachin Pilot to intervene and order an investigation into whether “due process" was followed by the probe agency.

The SFIO recently submitted its final report on investigations into alleged violations—including non-disclosure of key financial and other details by certain Vaishnavi entities and entering into related party transactions without proper clearances—and sought the corporate affairs ministry’s approval for launching prosecution in the case.

The probe agency has now been granted permission to begin prosecution, pursuant to which appropriate penal action can be taken in this case, a senior official told PTI. Meanwhile, Vaishnavi Corporate Communications on Sunday wrote to Pilot requesting him to “examine the report (by SFIO) dispassionately on the allegations made against us."

“If necessary, we are ready to offer a complete explanation on any matter at any stage either to the Government or in the public domain," the group has said, while requesting the minister to instruct the concerned person to provide it with a copy of the report.

“We continue to be victimised by the vested interests which has resulted in irreparable damage to us and many investigations, none of which have led to detection of any illegality on our part." “We believe that strong action by your good self would serve as a deterrent against any similar repeats from taking place in the future. We also request your good-self to investigate whether due process has been adopted in the process of finalisation of the report as we apprehend that the report has been authored primarily to create sensation by use of selective data points," it has said.

When contacted, a Vaishnavi spokesperson confirmed that such a letter has been written to the minister in this matter. Vaishnavi group was a major player in corporate communications and public affairs business with high profile clients such as Tatas, Unitech and Reliance Industries. It exited these activities in October 2011 after Radia got embroiled in a major controversy pursuant to leak of certain tapped conversations she had with businessmen, ministers, political leaders, journalists and others.

Later in 2012, then corporate affairs minister Veerappa Moily ordered an SFIO probe into nine Vaishnavi group entities after certain irregularities came to light during a scrutiny by the Registrar of Companies.

Radia has been questioned several times by investigative agencies, including Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED), over her tapped conversations. However, recent reports suggest that CBI has not found any criminality in the 14 preliminary enquiries registered by it on the basis of Radia tapes and it may soon file a closure report in these cases.

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