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ED funds probe on Lavasa’s son

Ashok Lavasa had dissented against EC’s clean chit to Modi and Shah

By PTI in New Delhi
  • Published 13.11.19, 4:04 AM
  • Updated 13.11.19, 4:04 AM
  • a min read
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Election commissioner Ashok Lavasa (Wikipedia)

Election commissioner Ashok Lavasa’s son Abir and a firm linked to him are being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for alleged violations of forex regulations, officials said on Tuesday.

Ashok Lavasa had dissented against the Election Commission’s clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah for provocative speeches during the Lok Sabha polls.

The officials said the ED had filed a case under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) to investigate Abir Lavasa and funds of Rs 7.25 crore allegedly raised early this year by a firm — Nourish Organic Foods Pvt Ltd — linked to him.

The purpose of the probe is to ascertain if the FEMA law was contravened in bringing these funds from a Mauritius-based company identified as Saama Capital, the officials said. Abir is stated to be the director of Nourish Organic Foods Pvt Ltd.

According to officials, the funds infusion into the company linked to Abir is under investigation and the agency recently questioned him about these transactions. Abir has assured full cooperation, they said, adding that some more people have been summoned.

Last week it had been reported that the power ministry had asked chief vigilance officers of all its PSUs to check if Ashok Lavasa had extended undue favours to any of the companies that his wife Novel Singhal Lavasa is a director of, during his tenure as a bureaucrat in the ministry from September 2009 to December 2013.

A few months ago, Novel had come under the scanner of the income tax department on charges of tax evasion. The tax department had issued her a notice directing her to explain certain aspects of her IT returns (ITR) with regard to being the director of about 10 companies, sources had said.

The officials said that after the preliminary investigation, the IT department asked her to provide more documents related to her personal finances to ascertain if her income had escaped assessment in the past or something has been concealed from tax authorities.

Some other family members of Ashok Lavasa are also under the scanner of the tax authorities, the officials said. Ashok Lavasa was appointed as an election commissioner on January 23, 2018, after he retired as the Union finance secretary the previous year.