No account in Bahamas, all details in public domain: Jay Panda

Bhubaneswar/ New Delhi: “I have no account in Bahamas; neither do any of our family companies,” clarified former Kendrapara MP Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda while responding to BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab’s statements in Lok Sabha today.

Citing a media report, Mahtab questioned in the House whether Panda who had opened a bank account outside India had informed RBI or the government before opening or closing accounts in foreign banks?

A few days back, a national newspaper had brought allegations of income tax irregularities and money laundering against the former parliamentarian.

Raking up the issue during the Zero Hour in Lok Sabha, Mahtab today stated that why the BJP is pointing fingers at Odisha government when the BJP-led government at the Centre is supposed to act in the issue.

“In his defence, Panda claimed that he was neither an overseas student nor a NRI at the relevant time and therefore did not need prior RBI or government’s approval before opening the account. Did he (Panda) declare the accounts to RBI once he returned to India and ceased to be an NRI as required in Law? Whether he intimated when closing the account and did he repatriate the entire amount held in these foreign banks and if not, he is liable for criminal prosecution under several Indian laws relating to foreign exchange violations and money laundering,” said Mahtab.

“I want to know from the Union government what steps it has taken in this regard, is it still in investigation stage and why the BJP is accusing Odisha government when BJP-led government at the Centre is supposed to take action,” Mahtab added.

However, responding to the question raised by Mahtab, Jay Panda stated that “I have no account in Bahamas, neither do any of our family companies. For 60 years, various family companies have done business dealings all over the world. These dealings are all through official channels and with intimation and approval of concerned authorities like RBI etc and are in the public domain.”

Senior leader Damodar Rout termed such allegations a ‘conspiracy’ by both BJD and BJP  to defame former MP Baijayant Panda.

“It is a conspiracy to defame Baijayant Panda. On one hand, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik claims that his party is equidistant from BJP and Congress but from his actions it is evident that BJD is having secret links with BJP. In a democracy such vendetta is totally unwarranted,” said Rout.