HC Pulls Up Govt For ‘Failure’ To Check Outflow Of Forex

New Delhi, July 29: | Updated: Jul 30 2002, 05:30am hrs
Pulling up the Centre for its apathy towards certain overseas firms allegedly involved in illegal outflow of foreign exchange worth several hundred crores of rupees by offering e-commerce packages, Delhi High Court on Monday sought a complete report from the government.

Taking strong exception to the government treating the matter lightly, a bench comprising Justice Anil Dev Singh and Justice Mukul Mudgal sought the presence of Additional Solicitor General (ASG) to place before it a correct picture of the whole case on August 12.

The Court also directed one such firm, Skybiz Ltd, a US company operating through its agents, to furnish complete details about its assets and bank accounts.

“There is an element of inducement in the offers of Skybiz. Would the government like the system to be exploited like this. Though they (Skybiz) are no longer doing business here, still you (government) are allowing them to exploit the people,” the Court told a junior lawyer appearing on behalf of the government.

The Court said if the Centre had taken appropriate action against the firm in time, flight of valuable foreign exchange worth several crore rupees would have been checked.

According to a public interest litigation (PIL)filed by a lawyer Anil Yadav, foreign exchange worth several crore of rupees had been taken away by Skybiz in violation of law.

Mr Yadav’s counsel Gagan Gupta, reading out from an affidavit filed by Enforcement Directorate (ED), said it showed that notices have been issued to 17 agents of Skybiz seeking their explanation about outflow of money in dollars worth Rs 150 crore.

The Court said this was another case of the government’s apathy after the “Golden Forest scam” in which meagre savings of thousands of people were taken away by such inducements.

Mr Gupta told the court that RBI, in a circular issued on December 7, 2000, had asked all the banks not to allow remittance to operators of such schemes or to any overseas company carrying on such activities like Skybiz.

Despite this, the firm’s agents were still collecting money from people and sending it directly abroad, he alleged. The petitioner alleged that Skybiz had offered sale of e-commerce web packages in India for an annual payment of $100 to each customer and sought payment in dollars directly to the firm in America.