A top financial executive of the Aditya Birla Management Corporation Pvt Ltd (ABMCPL), a company of the Aditya Birla Group which is under the scanner in connection with the Hindalco coal blocks case, has told Income Tax (IT) investigators that company officials regularly routed large amounts of cash through “angadias” or “local hawala operators” and made payments to “unidentified persons”.
In statements made to IT investigators, as recorded in a 166-page appraisal report, the company’s Deputy General Manager (Accounts) Anand Kumar Saxena has provided details of these operations and admitted that he could “not remember the quantum of unaccounted cash receipts for the remaining periods… Because we have destroyed the record for those period.”
Saxena, the IT report says, admitted that he had personal custody of the keys to two steel almirahs which he kept in the safe in his cabin where Rs 25.13 crore in cash was found in a search operation on October 15, 2013. The search was conducted as a follow-up to the CBI probe into the allocation of coal blocks to Birla’s Hindalco Industries Limited. Saxena, the IT report says, “could not explain the source of cash.”
Saxena has said, according to his statement recorded under IT proceedings, that all cash transactions including disbursals and payments were done on the instructions of Group Executive President Shubendu Amitabh.
The Indian Express handed over a detailed questionnaire on the contents of the report at a meeting with top Aditya Birla executives in Mumbai but the company declined to comment.
It is known that two petitions were filed in connection with this case before the Settlement Commission for grant of immunity—-one by Amitabh and the other by a Kolkata-based company named for money transfers—-but both were rejected for being incomplete disclosures. Interestingly, while Saxena was called on 12 different occasions for recording of his statements, Amitabh was called 14 times.