Ex-RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan is expected to be questioned by the CBI on the 20:80 gold scheme issue. Republic TV has reported that the CBI is in the process of drafting a questionnaire to be sent to Rajan which will be sent to him shortly.
Raghuram Rajan was the Governor of RBI from 2013 to 2016. The report states that Rajan will be given a deadline to answer the questions put to him and the CBI is also keeping the option of an in-person questioning open in case they are not satisfied with Rajan’s answers. Rajan is believed to be living abroad.
The CBI had yesterday also questioned the former Deputy Governor of RBI HR Khan over the matter. The CBI has been taking stringent and rapid action on after the 12,000 crore PNB scam was brought to light. It was revealed later that former Finance Minister P Chidambaram had signed an order that allowed the Mehul Choksi owned Gitanjali Gems import vast amounts of gold under the 20:80 scheme at a time when gold imports were being restricted in the country due to large Current Account Deficit.
Raghuram Rajan was the Governor of RBI when the RBI cleared the 20:80 Gold Scheme order on May 21. P Chidambaram had signed the dubious order during his last days in the office. The order favoured 13 big companies. Mehul Choksi owned Gitanjali was one of the major benefactors of the order.
Earlier in March, it had come to light that Raghuram Rajan was well aware of the May 2014 order benefiting certain selected players. The Indian Bullion and Jewellers Association had warned Rajan of the possible dubious benefits the order provided to selected companies in a letter.
Earlier, the Ministry of Commerce, in a statement had informed that the Government will definitely examine the circumstances as to why private parties PTHs/STHs (Premier Trading Houses and Star Trading Houses) were benefitted by allowing to import gold under 20:80 scheme by the previous government when the government was in transition and will take necessary action against the persons involved.
Rajan, in an earlier interview to a news channel, had subtly defended the 20:80 scheme and stated that the principal mover behind the May order was the government.