Reliance, Jet Airways deny Arvind Kejriwal's claims

MUMBAI Fri Nov 9, 2012 9:51pm IST

1 of 2. Arvind Kejriwal works on his laptop after his interview with Reuters in Ghaziabad on the outskirts of New Delhi October 22, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mansi Thapliyal

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - Reliance Industries (RELI.NS) and Jet Airways (JET.NS), two of India's biggest companies, denied allegations from anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal who accused executives of holding undeclared Swiss bank accounts.

Kejriwal from India Against Corruption on Friday said Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and his brother Anil held the accounts in a branch of UK-based HSBC (HSBA.L) in Geneva.

He also accused Naresh Goyal, the chairman of Jet Airways (JET.NS) of holding "black money" accounts, a term widely used in India to describe funds meant to avoid taxes.

Kejriwal and his IAG group have already gained publicity after accusing the ruling Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law of improper deals with property developer DLF (DLF.NS). All involved have denied the allegations.

"Neither Reliance Industries Limited nor Mr. Mukesh Ambani have or had any illegitimate accounts anywhere in the world," the energy conglomerate said on Friday in response to Kejriwal's latest claim.

Reliance added the company deals with several global banks, including HSBC.

"These accounts are fully compliant with all regulations and are disclosed in their appropriate jurisdictions and in India," the company said.

A spokesman for Anil Ambani, who is the chairman of Reliance Capital (RLCP.NS) and Reliance Infrastructure (RLIN.NS), said in an email: "Mr. Anil D. Ambani had no bank accounts with HSBC in Geneva."

Jet Airways, India's biggest airline, called Kejriwal's accusation against its chairman "entirely false."

Kejriwal also accused three people affiliated with personal care and food products maker Dabur India (DABU.NS) who he did not identify, of holding such accounts. The company declined to comment.

HSBC declined to comment on the allegations, but said it "takes compliance with the law, wherever it operates, very seriously."

Shares of Reliance Industries fell as much as 1.5 percent at one point, ending the day down 1.1 percent, in a session in which the Nifty fell 0.9 percent.

Shares in Jet Airways (JET.NS) dropped as much as 7.4 percent but recouped some losses to end the day down 1.3 percent. Dabur (DABU.NS) shares fell 0.6 percent. (Reporting by Rafael Nam; Additional reporting by Abhishek Vishnoi, Manoj Dharra, Aradhana Aravindan and Prashant Mehra; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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