Former Secretary to the Government writes to the FM
In a crisp one-page letter to the Finance Minister (FM) Shri Arun Jaitley, a former secretary to the Government of India, Shri E A S Sarma has urged the FM to look into possible conflict of interest of two directors, Bhavesh C Zaveri and Anand Sinha. It is hoped that the FM will quickly take action and ensure that such conflicts of interest are resolved quickly.
Copy of the letter:
E A S Sarma
14-40-4/1 Gokhale Road
Shri Arun Jaitley
Union Finance Minister
Dear Shri Jaitley,
I write this in continuation of my earlier letter dated 30-6-2017 on the subject. A copy of that letter is enclosed.
On a further verification, I find that two Directors of GSTN are also Directors of subsidiaries of foreign companies.
Bhavesh C Zaveri is perhaps a Director of Swift India Domestic Services Pvt Ltd which is a subsidiary of a foreign company as shown in the attached document relating to that company. Similarly, Anand Sinha appears to be a Director of KKR Arc India Pvt Ltd. which is a subsidiary of another foreign company as evident from the document attached. Of course, your Ministry will have to verify the factual position by consulting the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
Apparently, when your Ministry constituted GSTN and decided on its Board of Directors, it not only failed to consider the desirability of allowing non-government entities to hold the majority share in GSTN but also failed to exercise due diligence on the background of each Director. This is all the more disturbing in the context of the unusual importance given by the NDA government to the launch of GST last evening.
Considering the fact that GSTN will be handling an enormous information system on taxation cutting across the States and the Centre, would the Ministry of Finance allow such a shareholding pattern to continue and would it allow persons who are a part of the management teams of foreign companies to continue as Directors?
As a result of the liberal policy being followed in allowing foreign investment to flow into different sectors these days, it is possible that some of the non-government companies having a significant shareholding in GSTN will soon become subject to control by foreign companies. If this were to happen, would your Ministry consider it a desirable situation that is consistent with the public interest?
In my view, on such an important matter, the Union Government ought to have taken the Parliament into confidence with special reference to these concerns about GSTN.
I am circulating this letter widely to all political parties and the media to trigger a discussion and a debate, as this is far too serious a matter to be glossed over.
E A S Sarma
Former Secretary to GOI
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