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Mrs Vadra plays it safe, offers to pay fine for multiple DINs

Author: Sandhya Jain
Publication: Niticentral.com
Date: May 19, 2014
URL: http://www.niticentral.com/2014/05/19/mrs-vadra-plays-it-safe-offers-to-pay-fine-for-multiple-dins-224737.html

As the beleaguered Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her family brace themselves to face life without power, with the party seeking a change in leadership and the nation demanding greater scrutiny of the affairs of a family that presided over one of the most corrupt regimes in independent India, Priyanka Vadra is preparing to enter public life by bringing down the curtain on her mysterious financial dealings.

Seeing the writing on the wall, Priyanka Vadra had quietly admitted to the Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs that she had made multiple DIN applications, “due to inadvertent mistakes which were unintentional”. She submitted that since default under Section 266C is compoundable under Section 621A of the Companies Act, 1956, she would like to be let off with a fine. In a letter to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who had made a criminal complaint in the matter, the Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs on May 16, the day the results of the 2014 election voted the Congress-UPA out of office, stated that the matter was under examination.

The Ministry added that scrutiny showed that the multiple DIN applications made by Karti Chidambaram were intentional and that the case prima facie attracts provisions of Section 266A of the Companies Act, 1956. The Ministry’s Regional Director (NR) has been asked to seek explanations from Karti Chidambaram as per established procedure, within 15 days, after receipt of which further action, if any, would be decided. This seems to augur ill for the son of the former Union Finance Minister.

In a statement, Subramanian Swamy said that under the Companies Act, the multiple DINs of Priyanka Vadra and Karti Chidambaram were illegal as the Director Identity Number (DIN) is like a passport or driving licence number and aims to identify an individual’s multiple directorships in different companies to be collated for the purposes of compliance with the Income-Tax Act. Hence multiple DINs are a criminal offence and carry six months imprisonment and a fine of Rs 50,000/.

Moreover, multiple DINs are possible only with multiple PAN numbers, which is also illegal. The Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs has found that both Priyanka Vadra and Karti Chidambaram are guilty of this offence. While Priyanka Vadra has admitted the offence and pleaded to be let off with a fine, the matter clearly warrants complete scrutiny of her financial dealings before the case is closed.

It may be recalled that the Ministry of Corporate Affairs’ website showed that Priyanka Vadra had applied for and received three DIN numbers (01038703, 01840144 and 02914391), which violates both the Company Act and the Income Tax Act. As her mother-in-law Maureen Vadra also has two DIN numbers (01840680 and 01839769) a scrutiny of their corporate dealings is clearly in order before they are allowed to surrender the identities and let off with fines.

The DIN is issued against application to be appointed as a director of a company, so the companies against which the multiple numbers were sought must be clearly identified and Income Tax authorities satisfied that no dues are pending. The related issue of multiple PAN numbers must also be clarified in the case of all persons found to be having multiple DINs. It bears noting that all these multiple identities would have been taken against different addresses, otherwise the Ministry would automatically detect the duplication and reject it.

Other Congress leaders having multiple DINs include former Minister for External Affairs Salman Khurshid (02006329 and 02707104); former Minister for Corporate Affairs Sachin Pilot (01492084 and 01720862); Senior Advocate and Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi (00919369, 01282249, 01602963 and 01432612); former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh (01892589 and 01892590); and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and Rajya Sabha Member Motilal Vora (00494585, 00494926, 00589006 and 00628348).

Then, there is Congress’s Sivaganga candidate, Karti Chidambaram (01648557, 00952694, 01632067, 01204813, 01341858 and 01648562) and his mother Nalini Chidambaram (01732369 and 02770705); and DMK Rajya Sabha Member Kanimozhi Karunanidhi (01993765, 01994948 and 01520307) and former Minister Dayanidhi Maran (00548131 and 02353970).

- Sandhya Jain is a political analyst and independent researcher. She is the author of ‘Adi Deo Arya Devata- A Panoramic View of Tribal-Hindu Cultural Interface’ (Rupa & Co., 2004) and ‘Evangelical Intrusions. Tripura: A Case Study’ (Rupa & Co., 2009).
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