Rajiv Saxena named accused in IFFCO corruption case

In the case involving IFFCO MD, commissions paid by overseas suppliers diverted through Saxena’s firms: CBI

Rajiv Saxena, who has been named as an accused in the case registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation against the managing director and chief executive officer of Indian Farmers Fertiliser Co-operative Limited (IFFCO) and others, is also being probed in the AgustaWestland case.

Accused of having facilitated transfer of kickback money in the VVIP chopper deal case, Mr. Saxena was brought to India from Dubai on board a special plane in January 2019. He had been operating from the United Arab Emirates for the past over two decades. In July 2017, the Enforcement Directorate had arrested his wife Shivani on money laundering charge.

In the latest case involving IFFCO Managing Director U.S. Awasthi, the First Information Report (FIR) states that the accused persons conspired to fraudulently import fertilizers and raw materials at inflated rates and claim higher subsidy from the government in 2007-2014. Commissions paid by the overseas suppliers for Mr. Awasthi and others were diverted through Mr. Saxena’s companies, as alleged.

Apart from Mr. Awasthi, his sons Amol and Anupam; former Indian Potash Limited (IPL) Managing Director Pravinder Singh Gahlaut, his son Vivek; Pankaj Jain of Jyoti Group of companies and Rare Earth Group in Dubai; his brother Sanjay, president of Jyoti Trading Corporation, and its vice-president A.D. Singh have been named. Mr. Amol, Mr. Anupam and Mr. Vivek are non-resident Indians living in the United States.

According to the FIR, Mr. Awasthi has been working as the IFFCO Managing Director since 1993 and Mr. Gahlaut earlier held the post in IPL since 1997. The agency found that IFFCO had set up its 100% subsidiary named Kisan International Trading FZE in Dubai for importing fertilizers and raw materials from foreign entities. One such supplier was Uralkali Trading Limited in Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory.

Hawala transfers

The agency alleges that bills were raised by the suppliers in favour of Kisan International Trading at inflated rates so as to cover the bribe money to be paid to Mr. Awasthi and Mr. Gahlaut. The commissions were transferred via “hawala” operators or intermediaries. Mr. Amol, Mr. Anupam and Mr. Vivek were the beneficiaries.

Mr. Saxena’s group companies received huge commissions from Uralkali Trading Limited, Gulf Marine and Rare Earth Group on the pretext of consultancy agreements. Subsequently, the amounts were transferred to the Awasthi brothers and Mr. Vivek. For justifying the transfers, Mr. Saxena made agreements with Mr. Anupam’s Africa Strategic Advisory Services.

Catalysts Business Solutions (U.S.) owned by Mr. Amol, Thorn Lock Associates of Mr. Vivek and Terra Firma Commodities DMCC (Dubai) of Mr. Amol and Mr. Vivek, also received commissions from Mr. Saxena’s entities without any genuine business.

Illegal commissions

It is alleged that Mr. Saxena and his associates received $114.32 million (about ₹685 crore) of illegal commissions in the bank accounts of his group companies and individual accounts of Mr. Pankaj Jain, Mr. Vivek, Mr. Amol and Mr. A.D. Singh. A total of $80.18 million (about ₹481 crore) was channelled through Rare Earth Group and the remaining amount was received by the Awasthi brothers and Mr. Vivek.

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