Rajiv Mehrishi sent note to Jaitley on ‘blatant attempt’ to help Shah ‘at cost of investors he cheated’.

In a scathing note to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, four days before he demitted office as Finance Secretary, Rajiv Mehrishi, who is now Home Secretary, said the Department of Revenue had launched a “blatant attempt” to help “Shri Jignesh Shah at the cost of the investors who have been cheated in the NSEL scam”.

He said the Revenue Department had come to Shah’s “rescue” against the government’s effort to merge the National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL) with its holding company Financial Technologies (India) Ltd (FTIL) promoted by Shah.

Mehrishi’s note, dated August 26, 2015, referred to a Department of Revenue (DoR) note to the Department of Company Affairs (DCA) advising against the merger. That note, approved by then Revenue Secretary Shaktikant Das, argued that Enforcement Directorate (ED) was of the view that the merger would help Jignesh Shah, hence DCA should not press ahead with the merger. The note also mentioned that the matter was sub judice in Bombay High Court.

An official involved in the DoR note to DCA, said, “ED had advised this because merger may result in Jignesh Shah getting away.”

When contacted, the ED declined comment.

Mehrishi’s note shows that the “internal view” of DoR was not discussed in the coordination meeting. “It will be extremely embarrassing for the Government, specially the FM (Jaitley), as what he is doing as Minister of Company Affairs is sought to be negated by his own department in the Ministry of Finance,” Mehrishi wrote.

“Mr Jignesh Shah has been knocking the doors of various courts stopping/delaying this amalgamation. FM (Jaitley) is aware that the entire might of the Government has been put behind ensuring that Shri Jignesh Shah does not get any relief on this account from the courts — so much so that Government has even deputed Solicitor General once to fight the case,” Mehrishi wrote.

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