Corruption through FDI Route Haunts DMK
   08-Apr-2019
 
When DMK leader MK Stalin is urging people to dethrone the ‘corrupt’ AIADMK government, family members of his own party leader Jagathrakshakan is caught having stakes in a Singapore-based company linked to record FDI of $3.85 billion in an oil refinery in Sri Lanka
Venkatesan T S from Chennai
 
 Scam, scandals, corruption, controversy and DMK seem inseparable from all these. The DMK has been accused of mass liquidation of Sri Lankan ethnic Tamils by betraying their interests (Congress-led government in which DMK was a partner had helped Sri Lanka with arms and troops to fight against LTTE-led Vellupillai Prabhakaran). DMK is now embroiled in a fresh controversy. that too when the nation is going to polls. Former Union Minister S. Jagathrakshakan’s family has made huge investments in the Island nation. This is expected to be raked up during the Lok Sabha poll campaign.
 
Silver Park International in which the family members of DMK leader and former Union Minister of State S. Jagathrakshakan (inset) are said to have stake 
 
Chennai based English daily, The Hindu, made this exposure recently. It said a “Singapore-based company in which stakes are held by the family members of former Union Minister Jagathrakshakan of the DMK has been linked to a record foreign direct investment of $3.85 billion in an oil refinery in Sri Lanka.”
 
Jagathrakshakan began his political career with AIADMK. He was its MLA in 1980 and later elected to Lok Sabha in 1984. He was a member of Arakkonam Lok Sabha constituency of Tamil Nadu. He had been elected three times since 1996 on DMK ticket. He was the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry from November 2012 to March 2013. He is also the chairman of Shree Balaji Medical College and Hospital. He is the owner of Dr Rela Hospital and Institute. He also runs a series of educational institutions including Bharat University, Sri Lakshmi Narayana Institute of Medical Sciences (Puducherry). His family owns Elite Distilleries Pvt Ltd.
 
 
In 2009, in a sting operation by ‘Times Now’, officials from Jagathrakshakan’s Shree Balaji Medical College and Hospital were caught on camera demanding capitation fees from a student. In 2012, the leader was accused of receiving coal allocations from the Puducherry government for a company reportedly owned by his family.
Jagathrakshakan, who had declared Rs 15.5 lakh of assets in his nomination papers filed with the Election Commission, has now reportedly invested Rs 27,000 crore in a Sri Lankan company which is baffling. He and his family own Silver Park International. Oman oil ministry and Silver Park International PTE Ltd have joined hands to build a $3.9 billion with a capacity of 200,000 barrel oil per day refinery. Silver Park International, named by Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment (BOI), is registered with Singapore’s national regulator Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). Silver Park International, the company from Singapore, lists Jagathrakshakan’s wife Anusuya, daughter Sri Nisha and son Sundeep Anand as members of its Board of Directors with a Chennai address. It was reportedly incorporated in 2017; its website was registered in February this year.
 
“We are aware of the Singapore Company’s links to an Indian business interest. The agreement has been signed by one Jagathrakshakan. According to reports, the Singapore company, Silver Park International Pte Ltd, is investing 70% of the share capital — a total of $1887 million — in the project running into billions of dollars. The remaining, nearly $ 2,000 million, is to be met with loan capital," sources said.
  • DMK Vanniyar heavyweight’s family runs Singapore-based Silver Park International, which is investing a part of the whopping USD 1887 million share capital in the deal 
  • Over a dozen DMK state ministers and leaders are facing Disproportionate asset cases. Recently a CBI Special court convicted Thattanchavdy (Puducherry) DMK MLA Ashok Anand in a similar case
 
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka on March 24 started construction of a USD 3.85 billion oil refinery next to a Chinese-run port as part of a joint venture between India's Accord Group and Oman's oil ministry, the island nation's biggest foreign direct investment ever. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, whose 70th birthday coincided with the ground-breaking ceremony, said that with investments coming from India, China and Oman, Hambantota is set to become a multinational investment zone. The refinery project, expected to complete in four years.
 
The recent announcement by Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment on the record deal has run into a controversy after Oman, which the Board said was an investor along with the Singapore Company, on March 20 denied being part of the deal. The FDI was made known on March 19, while talking to media persons in Colombo. The BOI said an overseas joint venture had committed $3.85 billion to a new oil refinery.
 
The BOI said construction work on a refinery and storage facility, jointly financed by Oman’s Ministry of Oil and Gas and a Singapore-registered company, was about to begin soon. However, on March 20, Oman’s oil ministry denied being part of the project, ‘Reuters’ reported, prompting a clarification from the BOI. The BOI said it was “aware that there is no agreement that has been signed between Oman’s Ministry of Oil and Gas and Silver Park International with regard to equity arrangements of the project.”
 
Sri Lanka’s Presidential elections are due later this year, months after a bitter 51-day political feud between President Maithripala Sirisena and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. This will have an impact on the Presidential poll, says poll watchers.
 
Former Union Minister of State (I&B) and DMK’s Arakkonam candidate for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, Jagathrakshakan, is linked to the ‘single largest foreign investment’ deal in Sri Lanka, an explosive new report by ‘The Hindu’ states. According to the report, the DMK Vanniyar heavyweight’s family runs the Singapore-based Silver Park International Pte Ltd, the company which is investing a part of the whopping USD 1887 million share capital in the deal. The company’s investment stands at about Rs. 9,125 crore. The deal is for a USD 3.85 billion oil refinery coming up in the Hambantota industrial zone, located in the country’s Southern Province. The project, which is situated close to the Chinese-owned Hambantota port, is also geo-politically important for India even as it manages its neighbour to the north. However, there has been no official mention so far of an Indian connection to the oil refinery. Coincidentally, the revelations were made days after DMK had announced its poll manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In that among others, the party had reiterated its demand for an ‘independent and credible international probe into the human right violations, war crimes and genocide in Sri Lanka.
 
On March 24, started construction of a USD 3.85 billion oil refinery as part of a joint venture between India’s Accord Group and Oman’s oil ministry, the island nation’s biggest foreign direct investment ever. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said with investments coming from India, China and Oman, Hambantota is set to become a multinational investment zone. The refinery project is expected to be completed in four years.
 
‘The Hindu’ reported that the latest development in the issue was Oman pulling out of the deal on March 20, a day after Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment announced that the country was investing in the project, along with the Singapore-based company. In addition to cement and sand mining, the company’s website describes itself as an international oil and gas refinery company. It adds, “It is a vertically integrated company operating in all areas of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading. It also has renewable energy interests in biofuels and wind power,”(sic). Meanwhile, the Oman Oil Company, a commercial company wholly owned by the Government of Oman, had reportedly assured the Sri Lankan government that it had ‘firm intention’ to “participate in equity up to 30%, subject to reaching an agreement between the parties.”
 
In the year 2016, there was an IT raid in his house, business establishments, it is reported that they seized more than Rs 20 crore of unaccounted money. Also, they seized Rs 5 crore cash from one of his residences. The Income Tax department had conducted the raid based on the specific information as the former Minister had evaded income tax to the tune of more than Rs 200 crore.
 
An AIADMK leader on condition of anonymity said, on one hand DMK has been voiced its stance against the Sri Lankan government and its treatment of Tamils in the country over the years and criticised Congress at the Centre. Now it has not only aligned with Congress and DMK's former Union Minister investing vast sums of money in Sri Lanka. It needs an explanation from its president MK Stalin. Jagathrakshakan’s 2014 affidavit stated that he has a total income of about Rs 15.5 lakh while his wife had a total income of about Rs 2.04 crore. Now he is able to pump in Rs 27,000 crore. Does he have any magic wand! In 2G scam, DMK’s Kanimozhi and A Raja had faced trial. The special CBI court held that due to lack of proof they are acquitted. But the scam was done scientifically and it was difficult to prove. Is the same money was being routed through this company? Will DMK president MK Stalin explain to the state voters?”
 
 “A dozen of DMK state ministers like Durai Murugan and his wife (Vellore court), EV Velu and his wife (Thriuvannmalai) Pongalur Palanisamy (Coimbatore) , Geetha Jeevan—RS 2.31 cr (Tuticorin), Suresh Rajan, his father and mother—14.2 cr (Nagercoil) NPKR Raja and his wives (Erode) KN Nehru, his wife and son (Supreme Court), MRK Pannerselvam and his wife (Cuddalore), Thangam Thennarasu and his wife (Madurai special court) are facing Disproportionate asset cases. Recently a CBI special court has convicted Thattanchavdy (Puducherry) DMK MLA Ashok Anand in a disproportionate assets case. It is alleged that Kanimozhi and TR Baalu have shipping and trading companies in Sri Lanka and partnering Raja Pakases son and Karthi Chidambaram also have a huge investment in Sri Lanka. It is a double standard in their attitudes and public utterances. It is an irony that DMK leader Stalin has been urging people to dethrone the corrupt AIADMK government is like kettle calling
pot black, says a journalist Suresh Kumar.