According to the averments of, V.P. Singh, the then Minister of Finance, and the second senior most minister in the Cabinet, V.C. Pande, the then Secretary, Revenue, an officer with decades of service behind him, and Bhure Lal, the then Director of Enforcement, also an officer with decades of service behind him, what happened was as follows.

‘The country was being defrauded by corers being stashed away abroad. Efforts to get at the offenders through embassies and officials were not getting anywhere.

Several letters on record! Show that embassies were not able to or not willing to procure even the published balance sheets of companies. In fact, the only result of the Directorate of Enforcement addressing inquiries to the embassies was that, while the Directorate got no information, the persons and companies it was investigating immediately got to know that it was looking into their affairs, indeed they got know what it was looking for.

Officers sent from India too could not get anywhere. The offenders were postmasters; the transactions were carried out behind veils after veils. To get past these contacts and sources had to be identified, won over, developed, steered all this required much time and the itinerant officers could get no where.

As for officers stationed abroad who could possibly be used, there were just four in the whole wide world. And they too belonged to and were therefore taking their orders from not the Directorate but another department.

In September October, 1986, V.C. Pande, accordingly mentioned V.P. Singh, his minister, the difficulties the Directorate was facing in nailing the offenders and obtained his approval for engaging a foreign detective agency.

The Directorate had been investigating several offenders, including in particular Reliance. S. Gurumurthy, who had documented the offences of the latter in great detail, had conveyed the data to the person charged under the law with nailing the offences that is, to the Director of Enforcement, Bhure Lal,

Once Bhure Lal had been given the clearance for seeking the help of a foreign detective agency, he had asked Gurumurthy for suggestions about possible agencies.

Gurumurthy suggested Fairfax about whose competence he had heard good reports.

M Hershman, the head of Fairfax came to India. Gurumurthy introduced Hershman to Bhure Lal.

Bhure Lal authorized Fairfax to collect information regarding some of the misdeeds of Reliance Industries, Louis Dreyfus who. Had been involved in questionable. Deals with L. M. Thapar’s group and two alleged currency racketeers, Praful Shah and a Doshi.

This authorization was given on January 7, 1987. By January 24, Y.P. Singh was booted out, and the investigations by Fairfax were successfully blocked. In the event no information was received from Fairfax.

Article extracted from this publication >> January 1, 1988