CBI books ex-Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram for corrupt & dubious contracts in the De La Rue currency deal. The probe may lead to Chidambaram

The agency alleged that Mayaram as Finance Secretary granted an 'illegal' three years extension to an 'expired contract'

The agency alleged that Mayaram as Finance Secretary granted an 'illegal' three years extension to an 'expired contract'
The agency alleged that Mayaram as Finance Secretary granted an 'illegal' three years extension to an 'expired contract'

CBI files cases against ex-Finance Secy Arvind Mayaram, others; recovers incriminating documents in the raids

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday conducted searches at the premises of former Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram after filing an FIR (First Information Report) against him and a UK-based company De La Rue for corruption and dubious practices in the supply of exclusive color shift security thread for Indian bank notes.

What is the De La Rue scam?

When the UPA government came to power in 2004, British company De La Rue bagged the contract for supplying security threads for currency notes. This was approved by then Finance Minister P Chidambaram. But in 2010, India’s intelligence agencies found that De La Rue was supplying currency printing papers and other materials to Pakistan also and found that Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency was using these materials to print fake or counterfeit Indian currencies in bulk.

Based on the alerts by Indian intelligence agencies, the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee ordered the stoppage of deals with De La Rue, and the British firm was blacklisted by Home Ministry. Remember that time Home Minister was none other than P Chidambaram, who is now out on bail and facing a series of cases of corruption charges and money laundering.

But the twist in the tale was, when Chidambaram was back as Finance Minister in mid-2012, De La Rue’s black listing was lifted as per then Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram’s (who later became Finance Secretary till 2015) letter and De La Rue bagged further three-year contract up to December 2015. No need for superhuman intelligence to know that officer Arvind Mayaram would dare to write such a letter favoring De Le Rue without the consent of his Minister P Chidambaram.

Details of CBI’s FIR:

The CBI, in its FIR, alleged that Mayaram, the UK-based company De La Rue International Ltd, and unidentified officials of the finance ministry and RBI hatched a criminal conspiracy to extend undue favor to the firm. The agency had registered a preliminary inquiry in 2018 on a complaint from the Chief Vigilance Officer of the Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance. Based on its findings, the CBI has converted it into a regular case against Mayaram, now an economic advisor to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.

The agency, in its FIR, said that the Centre had entered into a five-year agreement with De La Rue International Ltd for the supply of exclusive color shift security thread for Indian banknotes in 2004. The contract was extended four times till December 31, 2015. The CBI’s FIR says that the then Finance Minister (P Chidambaram) had authorized the Reserve Bank of India to enter an exclusivity agreement with the suppliers of exclusive security features on behalf of the government of India, which was signed with De La Rue on September 4, 2004.

The agreement with the company specifically mentioned that the company had developed an exclusive India-specific green to blue color shift clear text MRT machine-readable security thread for use in Indian banknote paper as a security feature and for which the company holds exclusive manufacturing rights. The CBI found that the company had filed for the patent in India on June 28, 2004, which was published on March 13, 2009, and was granted on June 17, 2011, which shows at the time of the agreement, it did not have a valid patent.

“Enquiry has further revealed that De La Rue made false claims of holding patent and they did not have any patent for their color shift thread at the time of presentation in 2002 and their selection in 2004,” the CBI has alleged. The agency has alleged that the exclusivity agreement was signed by P K Biswas, Executive Director, RBI, without verifying the patent claim of De La Rue.

“Enquiry has also revealed that Anil Raghbeer, signatory of Contract Agreement from De La Rue, has received Rs.8.2 crore from offshore entities apart from the remuneration paid by De La Rue in 2011,” said CBI’s FIR.

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  1. Dear Mr Iyer,
    No one in my circle is afraid of ‘India’s Super PM before 2014’. But the established 70 years old ‘leaky, Porous Government’ in India one has to be afraid of. Babus or Super PM are well connected, i.e. Contract killers, knife in the back-one has to be prudent.
    Dec 19, 2022/(www.pgurus.com) :
    This readers comments :
    There was a ban on travel to India (visa ban) of Terror-business entrepreneuers. Babu-minor through a maze of Indian laws found an escape route/back door for these Terror-business profiters and the group travelled to India. Who pulled strings to lift this ban ?
    Whom did these Terror-business entrepreneuers meet ?
    Super-PM of India !
    Now 4 (almost) generations since independnce :
    Is the top leadership oblivious about such practices at Indian Embassy/ies-a routine ?
    There was no echo to a secured (Triple sealed, registered) written letter delivered to top leadership.
    Dear Reader,
    Actionable proofs available if you consider it a serious matter.
    But then of course, when secret hands of Congress leader could influence the negotiations by GOI in the process of release of hostages at Kandhar of an Indian Airlines flight from Kathmandu, Nepal, one has to be prudent. CEO of De la Rue was aboard that flight. Was he supervising the cross border smuggling of Fake Indian notes from Nepal ? Some years back (Source : EU sponsored- Observatory Geopolitics of Drugs…) an American citizen of white skin was arrested by Nepalese Police for illicit narcotics trade. US Embassy in Nepal got him out on bail, he jumped the bail & fled Nepal.
    The Indian Currency Printing Press De la Rue (literally means-off the street/of the street) was owned by an Italian. And CEO of De la Rue was most likely protected by Super PM of India, because of shared tastes.

  2. Wikipedia says, “Following the Panama Papers leak, it was revealed that from 2002 until 2010, De La Rue had secretly contracted New Delhi businessman Somendra Khosla to obtain contracts in exchange for a 15% commission.”.


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