A R200-million temple, inbuilt honour of the Gupta brothers’ overdue father, Shiv, was once erected of their house the city of Saharanpur the usage of cash laundered thru a number of of the Gupta brothers’ Indian and Dubai firms.
In March this yr, Indian income government raided a number of of the Gupta brothers’ homes on fees of cash laundering and tax evasion.
The temple was once amongst those homes.
In spite of the Guptas themselves footing the invoice for the development of the temple, an area Indian baby-kisser, Mansoor Badar, and Sanjay Grover, a identified Gupta lieutenant in Dubai, have been used because the “donors” of the cash earmarked for the temple’s development.
On this multi-part investigation, we believe how the Gupta circle of relatives laundered cash the usage of firms arrange in Dubai and India, releasing them as much as fund the temple’s development.
First forestall: Saharanpur
Building began at the Shiva Dham temple, positioned within the northern outskirts of the Gupta brothers’ homeland of Saharanpur, in June 2014. The temple complicated is composed of a number of structures, together with the principle temple itself, and a corridor designed by means of architectural company Trivedi Company in India.
The temple was once nonetheless underneath development in January this yr.
And whilst paperwork within the Gupta leaks declare that Badar and Grover are the only real funders of the temple’s development, a minimum of a portion of the donations was once bankrolled by means of the Guptas themselves, making fools of Indian income government within the procedure.
To get the cash into India, the Guptas wanted a plan. The Gupta leaks display that Tony Gupta expressed an passion in setting up the circle of relatives’s personal non secular accept as true with early in 2014. The Guptas additionally mentioned tactics of moving cash abroad with their auditors on the time, KPMG.
“We additionally word there’s a need to research the feasibility of moving budget offshore, particularly to India, to be utilised as non secular donations (as a part of investment to construct the temple within the neighborhood of your house the city in India) in addition to for industry functions,” wrote Muhammad Saloojee, director and head of company tax at KPMG, on June 30, 2014.
Between June 2014 and December 2014, the circle of relatives gave the impression to have deserted setting up their very own accept as true with and curious about the usage of an current non secular accept as true with as an alternative. The Gupta leaks display that the temple’s development was once overseen and paid for by means of an entity referred to as Sh Siv Mandir Gor Sankar Vishwana Banunth Dham and Samsa Bumi Prabndak Saba (the Siv Mandir accept as true with), a non secular accept as true with based in 1990. The Siv Mandir accept as true with was once liable for paying provider suppliers and labourers for the development of the temple.
The reasoning at the back of the usage of a accept as true with was once financial: with regards to Indian tax rules, a non secular accept as true with can practice for beneficial remedy of its personal source of revenue in addition to any donations made by means of its funders.
On December 10, 2014, Atul and Tony Gupta drafted a letter on behalf in their mom, the Gupta matriarch Angoori Gupta. The letter begged the Indian income government to grant the Siv Mandir accept as true with exemptions from positive tax regimes.
Atul Gupta and his mom Angoori on the laying of the temple basis stone. (www.shivadham.in)
“This temple is being built on the general undertaking price of [about R180-million]; the donation for which can be contributed by means of all particular person individuals in Saharanpur – and [a] main portion of this donation will come from Smt Angoori Devi Gupta and her members of the family and pals from everywhere the arena.
“Believe has additionally implemented for Source of revenue Tax Exemptions u/s 12 A of [Income] Tax Act and also will practice for exemption u/s 80 G of Source of revenue Tax Act. As soon as those exemptions are granted by means of the proper authority’s [sic] donation [sic] from all internationally will get started flowing in.”
The letter was once addressed to the tourism minister in Uttar Pradesh, the province of the Guptas’ homeland of Saharanpur, interesting to the minister to intrude with the tax government.
The letter makes it transparent that the Guptas supposed investment the development of the temple the usage of donations from their “family and friends”.
With a tax-efficient and opaque accept as true with set as much as obtain its donations, the Guptas may start investment it.
Funnelling the budget
The Gupta leaks display that the temple had two supposed assets of source of revenue. The primary funder was once Badar, a municipal councillor in Saharanpur. Badar was once earmarked to offer 23-million rupees [~R4.3-million] in opposition to the development of the temple.
As a part of the donation, Badar was once required to post a letter containing very particular wording to the income government. The accountant for the circle of relatives’s companies in India, Ashok Khandelwal, drafted an instance of the letter for use.
Khandelwal first of all denied any function within the investment of the temple development.
“With out going into the deserves of your allegations, we’ve completely not anything to do with the so-called temple development with which you are attempting to affiliate our identify,” he wrote in an e mail.
“We might haven’t any issues in case you have been publishing the reality, however publishing false tales with none info must no longer be achieved. You probably have any proof, of our involvement on this, kindly proportion the main points of the similar with us sooner than publishing the tale to ensure that us to reply, as a result of your inference of the tips, if any, that you’ve got appears to be completely improper.”
Khandelwal failed to reply when faced with a duplicate of the donation letter he drafted. He additionally failed to elucidate why he drafted the letter underneath directions from Gupta circle of relatives buddies if the donor was once Badar, an it sounds as if unrelated birthday party. As a substitute, Khandelwal threatened prison motion at the foundation of defamation and blackmail in line with the questions posed.
Badar’s motivation seems to were political. In December 2014, Gupta lieutenant Ashu Chawla won two letters introducing Badar to the chief of an area political organisation. The letters, which needed to be translated, introduce Badar to the chief of the Samajwadi Birthday celebration, Akhilesh Yadav, and suggest Badar as a great candidate for the elections to be held the next yr.
Each Yadav and Badar additionally attended the Gupta circle of relatives’s notorious Waterkloof wedding ceremony in 2013. Makes an attempt to succeed in both Yadav or Badar for remark were met and not using a reaction.
However Badar was once no longer about to make use of his personal cash to fund the temple, and that is the place the laundromat kicked in. The Gupta leaks point out the way it labored.
The laundering cycle used to fund Mansoor Badar’s donations to the temple accept as true with. (Graphic: Jean le Roux and Jaco Grobbelaar)
The use of a number of back-to-back bills, the real supply of the investment can be hidden at the back of a number of layers of transactions. All of those firms are both underneath the direct keep watch over of Gupta members of the family, or their shut buddies.
The next day to come the cycle is repeated. ITJ Retails will pay LCR Investments, who in flip will pay Anil Gupta. Anil Gupta arranges for the budget to be transferred by means of unknown manner to Badar, who in flip will pay ITJ Retails.
This cycle was once repeated for a number of days till about 21-million rupees [~R3.9-million] was once paid to ITJ Retails by means of Badar.
However the trick lies herein: Badar by no means paid ITJ Retails. Through skipping the final hyperlink within the chain, Badar would in impact “borrow” the cash from ITJ Retails by means of no longer paying it over. This was once showed by means of the stability sheet for ITJ Retails, which confirmed that as at March four, 2014, Badar was once owed precisely 23-million rupees [~R4.3-million] – an identical quantity contained within the deliberate price range for the temple.
The modus operandi turns into even clearer in any other string of transactions or magazine entries ordered a yr later.
On March 6, 2015, any other Gupta lieutenant Suresh Tuteja once more asked that a number of bills be mirrored, both as transactions or magazine entries within the books of the affected entities. Amongst those bills was once 17.6-million rupees [~R3.3-million] that Akash Khandelwal, the accountant-on-call for the Guptas, was once to obtain from “Sanjay ji”. This probably referred to Sanjay Grover, the previous Gupta affiliate in Dubai.
This quantity would then be transferred to ITJ Retails, who would in flip “pay off” Badar the 23-million rupees he lent ITJ Retails. Badar would then make a 23-million-rupee cost to the “temple”.
Akash Khandelwal denied that he won or made this sort of bills, however would no longer provide an explanation for why those cost directions can be made the usage of his identify because the recipient of the cash to be paid to ITJ Retails.
The entries additionally confirmed that the “temple” would in flip be used to settle a automobile mortgage for the advantage of SES Applied sciences, any other Gupta-linked corporate that can function prominently within the subsequent instalment.
We will now hint a path from the temple accept as true with to Badar and ultimately LCR Investments and SES Applied sciences.
The supply of the cash won from LCR Investments and SES is somewhat murkier. However the Gupta leaks display how those firms have been used to launder cash paid from a number of in another country assets.
The primary of those assets have been donations paid by means of the Gupta circle of relatives from South Africa. In overdue 2013, Rajesh Gupta, his spouse Aarti, and Atul’s spouse, Shivani, each and every talented R1-million to their sister in India, Achlia.
Achlia Gupta is the sister of brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh, and is married to the similar Anil Gupta discussed above who equipped Badar with the cash to pay ITJ Retails. The donations made in overdue 2014 seem to have been made without delay into Achlia’s account.
The donations made to Achlia would invariably in finding their long ago into the LCR Investments’ and SES Applied sciences’ laundry cycle. Financial institution information for SES display that Achlia steadily made huge deposits into its account, which have been due to this fact funnelled away. Achlia and different individuals of the Gupta circle of relatives, steadily made huge unsecured loans to Gupta-linked firms, amongst them LCR Investments.
Bills made to LCR Investments by means of Gupta-owned firms in Dubai have been a 2d supply of overseas source of revenue. In 2014, Indian tax government queried the supply of budget used to offer a number of unsecured loans equipped by means of the circle of relatives and its firms to LCR Investments all through the former monetary yr.
Anil, Achlia and Doon Recreational and Hospitality (an Indian corporate owned by means of the Guptas, up to now referred to as Sahara Computer systems and Electronics) have been queried on this topic.
In reaction, Achlia referred to a donation made to her by means of Shivani “out of her herbal love and affection for me and the similar has been accredited by means of me”.
But this heart-warming gesture of charity was once no longer paid without delay to Achlia. As a substitute, the cash was once paid from her sister’s Financial institution of Baroda account into that of the Dubai-based International Company LLC. International Company would in flip pay this into the checking account of LCR Investments, once more investment the cycle.
ALSO READ: Dubai: the Guptas’ city of shells
International Company was once one a number of Gupta-linked shelf firms Information24 investigation final yr was once not able to trace down, in spite of reporters spending every week in Dubai.
A 3rd supply of budget was once direct bills from the Guptas’ Dubai-based firms. An elaborate instance of the way in which the cash is laundered is located within the Gupta leaks, and comes to a number of firms that the Guptas have direct keep watch over over.
This laundering procedure can be delved into within the subsequent instalment, in addition to its hyperlinks to the circle of relatives’s Dubai operations.