Famous corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar, known for his proximity to politicians, journalists and higher government officials, is under the IT scanner for the wealth made during the 2008 – 2011 period, totalling as much as Rs 1,000 crore of unaccounted income. The Income Tax department had initiated a search operation last year against the self-proclaimed corporate consultant, who mainly operated in clearing civil aviation, infrastructure and FIPB projects. The tax authorities only seized Rs 7.35 crore then. A deeper investigation has now led to detection of undisclosed income amounting to hundreds of crores.
A Times of India article reports that the prosecution alleges that Talwar was instrumental in getting approvals for many international aviation companies, much of it because of his close contacts and reach to various important politicians of the time.
According to a report by CNN India, the various charges against Talwar constitute –
1. Receiving kickback of $9 million from Qatar Airways.
2. Receiving kickback of $9.8 million from Air Arabia for aiding the airlines to secure more destinations.
3. Helping Air Asia obtain operating permits.
4. Helping Emirates, a Dubai-based airlines – to secure bilateral agreements amended to enable larger passenger access in Indian market.
However, the allegations against Talwar are not confined to the aviation industry. He is also alleged to be associated with multiple scams during the UPA regime. In fact, his association with FDI projects since the days of PV Narasimha Rao government have been brought under the scanner to understand the depth of Talwar’s association with the scams during UPA government.
But who is Deepak Talwar? Here’s a brief history of his career –
Son of a former bureaucrat, Deepak Talwar is known as the “king of the tribe” among corporate consultants and lobbyists in India. It was in the 1990s that he gained prominence using his proximity to the then top bureaucrat A.N. Verma to facilitate FDI approvals for multinational companies during economic liberalization. Since then, he has been regarded as the “go to” man for organizing any type of FDI clearance.
A glimpse of Talwar’s shrewd expertise can be seen in the way he obtained a clearance for the US based Telcordia Technologies (now part of Ericsson) in 2009, by forming a 26:74 joint venture, to win a Mobile Number Portability (MNP) license for southern and eastern zones. The MHA had red-flagged this deal as this telecom operator had already signed a similar deal with Pakistan. Regardless of this, the company received a clearance from the UPA government to implement MNP.
A sneak-peak into the history and career of Deepak Talwar puts him at par with lobbyist Nira Radia, if not ahead. Through his shrewd calculations and using his proximity with top bureaucrats, he not only made sure that he and his clients benefited, but also oversaw to it that the law never did reach up to him. Not anymore, he has some serious answering to do now.