Swiss accounts of ‘Chandamama’ owners under lens

New Delhi Swiss Bank accounts of Mumbai-based software services firm Geodesic Ltd, new owners of decades-old children’s magazine Chandamama, is to come under scrutiny of Indian investigating authorities in an ongoing money laundering and financial irregularities case.

 

The development comes after Switzerland has agreed to provide “administrative assistance” of these accounts to Indian authorities, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Income Tax.

Geodesic is mainly known for acquiring ‘Chandamama’, the popular children’s magazine started in July 1947. In 2007, Geodesic acquired the iconic ‘Chandamama’ magazine which enthralled children with Indian mythological stories.

 

As per an official document, the Switzerland Federal Tax Administration (FTA) on March 5 agreed to reveal Swiss Bank account data of 1982-incorporated Geodesic Ltd and its three directors –Prashant Sharad Mulekar, Pankajkumar Onkar Srivastava and Kiran Kulkarni. Geodesic and its directors are accused of stashing illicit funds in Swiss Bank accounts.

 

Details shared by the FTA about Geodesic could include investments made by its directors. The data could include banking details, transactions, and investments made in Swiss accounts.

 

The FTA would also share data related to Aadhi Enterprises, a Chennai-based realty firm established in 2014. The Income tax office raided offices of Sunil Khetpalia and Maneesh Parmar (linked with Aadhi) and alleged money laundering and benami holdings of several politicians.

 

As per the Swiss law, the FTA decision can be appealed within 30 days, provided the appellant is able to give sufficient ground to challenge it.

 

The FTA on October 30 last year had also decided to provide the administrative assistance in respect of Geodesic and its directors to India but that could not happen because of some legalities leading the organisation to again make new decision.

 

While the Swiss government documents did not disclose specific details related to the assistance sought by the Indian authorities regarding of Geodesic, its three directors and Aadhi Enterprises, such an “administrative assistance” follows submission of proof about financial and tax-related wrongdoings.

 

Directors of the Geodesic firm have been facing allegations of money laundering and siphoning of funds. The firm has already faced the wrath of capital markets regulator Sebi for multiple violations. Its shares have not been trading since August 2014 when its share price had dipped to as low as Rs 1.50 a piece.

 

Once known as a fast-growing company with cutting edge technology solutions, Geodesic does not have a functional website anymore and is also no longer a listed entity as trading in its shares has been suspended by stock exchanges for “procedural reasons”.

 

Aadhi Enterprises is under probe for its alleged links to tainted politicians and for allegedly indulging in money laundering. The Income Tax department has conducted multiple raids on properties of the firm’s promoters.

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