Subramanian Swamy is on a warpath with the Finance Ministry. Days after sending a request to the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for Sanction to Prosecute “corrupt” Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, Swamy has now sought details about controversial deals under Right to Information Act (RTI). As many as 10 RTIs were filed on September 26th by the BJP leader seeking details of contracts given to private vendors regarding the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN), Adhia submitting Gold Biscuits received from fugitive Nirav Modi to Toshakhana, details, and copy of file notings signed by Adhia favouring Anil Ambani, Ratan Tata, Vodafone etc.
These tough questions and details sought by Subramanian Swamy have created a lot of tension in the Finance Ministry and according to many staffers, Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia rushed to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with copies of these 10 RTIs. Majority of the questions were related to the controversial and illegal decisions related to the Goods and Service Tax (GST)’s tax collection network GSTN, which has been recently taken over fully by the Government.
Swamy sought the file noting and decisions illegally taken by Adhia to make GSTN funding out of mandatory General Financial Rules (GFR). Swamy sought to know whether Finance Ministry took Cabinet’s approval in exempting GSTN from the General Financial Rules. This illegal decision was taken to avoid auditing by CAG about the funds pumped to GSTN, in which majority shares were held by private banks like HDFC and ICICI Bank. PGurus has written a series of articles on this blatant illegality.
Other questions regarding GSTN were on how Infosys was selected and allotted more than Rs.3,000 crores ($405 million) and how the private company was selected without tender. Swamy also sought the details of decisions taken by Adhia during his stint as a temporary Chairman of GSTN. He also asked who approved this additional post and objections raised by Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) in the constitution of GSTN with private banks and private financial firms having majority shares? BJP leader also sought the details about how Adhia overruled these objections of CBEC.
Swamy’s other RTI application was about the controversial and illegal acceptance of Gold Biscuits by the Finance Secretary as Diwali Gift in 2016 from fugitive Nirav Modi and later illegally submitting to Toshakhana, the Government-dignitaries-gift-accepting centre during foreign travel. Adhia still maintains a blatant lie that he is not aware of who gifted Gold Biscuits to him!
Other questions were regarding the tax benefits given to Anil Ambani and Ratan Tata’s trusts. The RTIs sought details of Rs.100 crores ($13.5 million) tax exemptions to Anil Ambani in a customs related matter and more than Rs.1000 crores ($135 million) income tax exemptions allowed to Tata Trusts approved by Hasmukh Adhia as Finance Secretary. Another RTI was regarding the allowing of Vodafone’s demand to go for second arbitration in England, while the company was losing to Income Tax in the Netherlands.
The Finance Ministry has transferred Swamy’s RTI to concerned departments for replying within 30 days. It is learned that Adhia has directed all department heads to consult him on the replies as the matters are highly sensitive. Hasmukh Adhia is retiring on November 30 and is lobbying hard to get an extension or to get the post of Election Commissioner, say sources close to him. He feels that Swamy is trying to drag him to courts for the controversial decisions in GSTN and Gold Biscuits accepting controversy.
1. The conversion rate used in this article is 1 USD = 74.13 Rupees.
 Did Hasmukh Adhia convert GSTN into a UPA-3 project? Mar 30, 2018, PGurus.com
 Is Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia shielding PNB scamsters Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi? Mar 21, 2018, PGurus.com