From: Seema Sapra <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 2:01 PM
Subject: Complaint against Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia for conflict of
interest and corruption while holding Government of India posts
including when he was the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission -
by Seema Sapra, General Electric whistleblower, who has filed Writ
Petition (Civil) 1280/ 2012 (in the matter of Seema Sapra v. General
Electric Company and Others in the Delhi High Court)
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Satya Pal Bhatia
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, raj parshad vats <email@example.com>,
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
email@example.com, "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>,
"firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>, "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>,
"firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>, "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>,
firstname.lastname@example.org, "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com, Amit Shah
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
email@example.com, Mukul Rohatgi <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
email@example.com, Bhim Sain Bassi <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Cc: Seema Sapra <email@example.com>, Seema Sapra <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Complaint against Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia for conflict of interest
and corruption while holding Government of India posts including when
he was the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission - by Seema
Sapra, General Electric whistleblower, who has filed Writ Petition
(Civil) 1280/ 2012 (in the matter of Seema Sapra v. General Electric
Company and Others in the Delhi High Court)
To the Prime Minister of India (Shri Narendra Modi),
1. Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia was the Deputy Chairman of the
Planning Commission and sat in all Cabinet meetings and was invited to
all Government of India Committee meetings on economic and financial
policy matters. He issued press/ public statements everyday on almost
every economic policy matter of the Central Government. He had been
charged with having a finger in every pie. A study of his press
statements and news reports about the Planning Commission discloses
the latter's interference in government matters of several ministries.
The Planning Commission was de-facto interfering in government
matters, processes and decisions that fell within the domain of
Central government ministries. Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia'a statements
on government policy and on executive decisions were capable of and in
fact affected stock prices of firms listed in India and overseas.
2. Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia's elder son, Mr Pavan Ahluwalia has
worked with McKinsey, and later with a Hedge Fund (Old Lane)
established by Mr Vikram Pandit and subsequently taken over by
3. Mr Pavan Ahluwalia presently manages an India based/ focused
hedge/investment fund (Laburnum Capital) that is registered with SEBI
as a portfolio manager. This hedge fund was established in 2009 with
assets under management (AUM) exceeding Rs. 100 crore. The assets
under present management with Laburnum Capital are most likely
significantly higher than Rs. 100 crore.
4. Laburnum Capital operates in complete secrecy with no public
disclosure of the source or destination of the large amounts of funds
moving in and out of its accounts. The website of Laburnum Capital
claims that it manages investments for several high-net worth Indians,
business houses, corporate and business families.
5. A court document filed for Mr Rajat Gupta's sentencing
hearing before the United States District Court refers to an admission
by Mr Pavan Ahluwalia to his close relationship with his former boss
at McKinsey (Rajat Gupta) who has also invested funds with Mr Pavan
Ahluwalia in Laburnum Capital.
6. Mr Pavan Ahluwalia's entire career has placed him in conflict
of interest situations with his father, Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia's
career and role in the Indian government. After graduating from
Princeton, Mr Pavan Ahluwalia appears to have worked with McKinsey
both in New York and in India. The time period includes the late 1990s
and the first half of the 2000s. At this time, Mr Pavan Ahluwalia
possessed a basic economic degree. During this time, Rajat Gupta was
heading McKinsey and McKinsey made significant inroads into Indian
policymaking with government engagements at both the Central and State
levels and with significant private business engagements focused on
India. (Rajat Gupta left McKinsey in 2007.) There are documented
reports that during this period, Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia was a
strong supporter of McKinsey in India and actively recommended
McKinsey's highly priced consulting services to several government
departments/ ministries (see Deccan Herald report dated September 24,
2004). Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia had even appointed McKinsey on
official Planning Commission committees in 2004 for a mid-term
appraisal of the 10th plan. During this time, Mr Pavan Ahluwalia was
employed by McKinsey and received a lucrative salary.
7. McKinsey's private clients at any given time are kept confidential.
8. During the time that Mr Pavan Ahluwalia worked for McKinsey,
Mr Rajat Gupta developed and enjoyed unrestricted access to top Indian
government functionaries including to Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan
9. In 2005, Mr Pavan Ahluwalia obtained a graduate degree from
Harvard Business School after leaving McKinsey.
10. A document in Rajat Gupta's sentencing hearing (Case
1:11-cr-00907-JSR Document 123 Filed 10/17/12) contains the following
statement from Mr Pavan Ahluwalia:
"Pavan Ahluwalia, who in 2006 was being recruited to return to McKinsey from
graduate school, writes that "[a]t the insistence of [a] McKinsey
partner, I had a telephone conversation with Rajat, expecting to have
to defend my reasons for not returning to the firm. To my considerable
surprise, he listened intently, understood why I was making the
decision I was making [not to return], and told me that he objectively
thought it was the correct decision for me. Rather than try to 'sell'
his firm, or score a point in the recruiting process . . . he was able
to put my own concerns front and center and evaluate the decision from
"Over the years that followed . . . I found him to be and incredibly
generous and wise mentor. . . . [H]e went out of his way to introduce
me to people, and when I decided to start my own investment firm, he
became one of my first investors, as he had been for several young
McKinsey alumni starting off on their own.
"Rajat never once mentioned money or wealth creation while discussing
either his own involvement in principal investing or my career
11. This statement shows that Mr Rajat Gupta continued to be
"incredibly generous in helping Mr Pavan Ahluwalia's career even after
the latter left McKinsey by introducing him to important people and by
even investing funds with Mr Pavan Ahluwalia's investment firm,
12. In 2006, after graduate school, Mr Pavan Ahluwalia joined Old
Lane, a hedge fund launched by Mr Vikram Pandit, who would later head
Citigroup. Old Lane was subsequently acquired by Citigroup.
13. Old Lane had substantial India focused investments/ activities
during the time that Mr Pavan Ahluwalia was employed by Old Lane.
14. One significant investment by Old Lane in India was in the Maytas
group, a group affiliated to the scam ridden Satyam group. Maytas won
the lucrative contract for the Hyderabad metro soon after Old Lane's
investment in Maytas. The contract for the Hyderbad metro awarded to
Maytas was later disclosed as a scam and Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia's
role in the formulation and award of this contract has been
highlighted in his lack of adequate response to Mr E Sreedharan's
letter highlighting serious concerns with this contract. A document
filed in Writ Petition No 18483 of 2008 in the Andhra Pradesh High
Court challenging this contract refers to a letter dated 25 July 2008
written by Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia to the Prime Minister (Dr
Manmohan Singh) that disclosed that Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia
anticipated the award of the contract to Maytas even before the
successful bidder was formally announced.
15. Old Lane also invested in the KVK group of companies (KVK Energy
and Infrastructure) which was awarded the 1,200Mw KVK Nilachal power
project in Orissa. Old Lane funds were also used by Hyderabad-based
KVK Energy and Infrastructure Ltd (KEIL) to buy back all the Rs 45
crore equity (25.5%) held by the troubled Maytas Infra in KVK Nilachal
Power Ltd after concerns were raised about Maytas stake in the power
project. KVK raised Rs 106 crore from Old Lane India Opportunities
Fund in October 2007 and later raised an additional US$20 million from
Old Lane (approximately Rs 100 crore).
16. KVK Nilachal first signed an MoU with the Orissa state government
on September 26, 2006 for 600 MW, which was enhanced to 1200 MW
through the supplementary MoU signed on October 17, 2008 for setting
up the power plant at Rahangol village in Cuttack district at a cost
of Rs 5,000 crore. KVK Nilachal was to finally set up three units of
350 MW coal-fired power plant at a total cost of Rs 4,500 crore. Mr
Hari Aiyer was appointed as nominee director on the Board of KVK
Energy. He was a Founder-Member of Old Lane Partners, and also
Chairman & Advisor, India Opportunities Advisors Pvt. Ltd., and the
Indian Advisor for Old Lane India Opportunities Fund.
17. Mr Hari Aiyar is also the Managing Partner of Build India Capital
Advisors (BIC). Citi's joint venture India infrastructure business,
was according to its website, established to seek long-term capital
growth potential within India's Infrastructure sector by managing the
risks particular to greenfield/brownfield development infrastructure
projects. The website of Build India Capital Advisors states: "Driven
by high demand, financing shortages and implementation constraints,
BIC's investment team, which possesses extensive investment expertise
in major sub-sectors such as power, roads, ports/logistics, airports,
development of land and real estate infrastructure, believes there is
a unique opportunity for investments within India's burgeoning private
18. Old Lane had special Indian focussed funds including the Old Lane
India Opportunities Fund, established in July 2006, and sized at $518
million with a 10-year life. This fund was dedicated for long-term
investment opportunities in India, primarily in the infrastructure and
real estate sectors. There was an Old Lane Mauritius fund for
investments into India.
19. There is no transparency about whose money was being invested in
India by Old Lane and also about what contributions and deals resulted
from Mr Pavan Ahluwalia's employment at Old Lane. There is also no
transparency about the compensation that Mr Pavan Ahluwalia earned
from Old Lane during his time there.
20. Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia has been a significant and very vocal
proponent of private investment in Indian infrastructure in his
capacity as a policymaker and as participant in important
infrastructure related executive decisions for the government of
India. Yet during his two tenures as Deputy Chairman of the Planning
Commission, he wasin direct conflict of interest situations on account
of his son, Mr Pavan Ahluwalia roles at Old Lane and later at Laburnum
21. Old Lane (which was set up in 2006) was acquired by Citigroup in
2007 and if Mr Pavan Ahluwalia worked for Old Lane between 2007 and
2009 (as it appears he did), then Pavan Ahluwalia was, during this
period, a Citigroup employee.
22. In 2007, Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia was appointed to the Group of
30. (Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia has since then left this group.)
Established in 1978, the Group of Thirty is a "private, nonprofit,
international body composed of very senior representatives of the
private and public sectors and academia." Its stated aim is "deepen
understanding of international economic and financial issues, to
explore the international repercussions of decisions taken in the
public and private sectors, and to examine the choices available to
market practitioners and policymakers." The groups website describes
its influence as impacting "the current and future structure of the
global financial system by delivering actionable recommendations
directly to the private and public policymaking communities." This
association with the Group of 30 by Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia also
raises conflict of interest concerns.
24. A January 4, 2007 Asian Age news report reported that Mr Montek
Singh Ahluwalia at that time was also a member of the Commission on
Growth and Development set up by
the World Bank and the Institute of International Finance (The Global
Association of Financial Institutions). According to the Asian Age
report the "Institute of International
Finance has included Dr Ahluwalia in the group of trustees for
overseeing the "principles for stable capital flows and fair debt
restructuring in emerging markets". The Commission on Growth and
Development (informally known as the Growth Commission) is described
on the website of the World Bank in the following terms:
"Launched in April 2006, the Commission on Growth and Development
brings together twenty-two leading practitioners from government,
business and the policymaking arenas, mostly from the developing
world. The Commission is chaired by Nobel Laureate Michael Spence,
former Dean of the Stanford Graduate Business School, and Danny
Leipziger, former Vice-President, World Bank, is the Commission's
Over a period of four years the Commission sought to gather the best
understanding there was about the policies and strategies that
underlay rapid and sustained economic growth and poverty reduction.
The Commission's audience is the leaders of developing countries.
The Commission was supported by the Governments of Australia, Sweden,
the Netherlands, and United Kingdom, the William and Flora Hewlett
Foundation, and the World Bank.
The Commission has been brought together by the belief that the
world's challenges - poverty, environment, misunderstandings within
and between nations, vast differences in living standards within and
across countries - are best met in conditions of rising and sustained
prosperity, and expanding economic opportunities.
The Commission was established "to take stock of the state of
theoretical and empirical knowledge on economic growth with a view to
drawing implications for policy for the current and next generation of
The Commission was funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation,
the governemnts of Australia, Netherlands, Sweden, and the United
Kingdom, and the World Bank."
25. While Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia's participation in the Commission
on Growth and Development raises certain questions about whether he
obtained prior Government authorisation and whether his participation
was in his personal capacity or as a representative of the Government
of India, Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia's association with the Institute
of International Finance was clearly a case of conflict of interest
and more so, because his son – Mr Pavan Ahluwalia, was at that time
employed by Vikram Pandit/ Citigroup.
26. The mission statement of the Institute of International Finance
(of which Citigroup would be a constituent) reads:
The Institute of International Finance, Inc. (IIF), is the world's
only global association of financial institutions. Created in 1983 in
response to the international debt crisis, the IIF has evolved to meet
the changing needs of the financial community. Members include most of
the world's largest commercial banks and investment banks, as well as
a growing number of insurance companies and investment management
firms. Among the Institute's members are commercial and investment
banks, sovereign wealth funds, asset managers, hedge funds, insurance
companies, multinational corporations, law firms, export credit
agencies, multilateral agencies, development banks, and other
organizations providing products and services to financial services
community. The Institute currently has over 450 members headquartered
in more than 70 countries in Africa, the Middle East, North and South
America, Europe, and Asia.
The Institute of International Finance is committed to being the most
influential global association of financial institutions. We strive to
sustain and enhance our distinctive role on the basis of the
professional excellence of our research, the unmatched breadth of our
membership, our extensive relationships with policymakers and
regulators, and the strength of our governance.
Our mission is to support the financial industry in prudently managing
risks, including sovereign risk; in developing best practices and
standards; and in advocating regulatory, financial, and economic
policies that are in the broad interest of our members and foster
global financial stability.
In fulfilling this mission, the IIF's main activities are to:
· Provide high-quality, timely, and impartial analysis and research to
our members on emerging markets and other central issues in global
· Systematically identify, analyze, and shape regulatory, financial,
and economic policy issues of relevance to our members globally or
· Develop and advance representative views and constructive proposals
that influence the public debate on particular policy proposals,
including those of multilateral agencies, and broad themes of common
interest to participants in global financial markets.
· Work with policymakers, regulators, and multilateral organizations
to strengthen the efficiency, transparency, stability and
competitiveness of the global financial system, with an emphasis on
voluntary market-based approaches to crisis prevention and management.
· Promote the development of sound financial systems, with an emphasis
on emerging markets.
· Provide a network for members to exchange views and offer
opportunities for effective dialogue among policymakers, regulators,
and private sector financial institutions.
· Define, articulate, and disseminate best practices and industry
standards in such areas as risk management and analysis, disclosure,
corporate governance and regulatory compliance.
· Support education and training efforts of our members in priority areas."
27. The Public Health Foundation of India is another example of
unsavoury and undesirable links between McKinsey and Mr Montek Singh
Ahluwalia. There are several controversies surrounding the PHFI which
are not covered by this note. PHFI's bank account is with Citibank.
PHFI's status as a public authority or a private entity is in doubt.
The CIC has called PHFI a public authority and had stated that a
contrary opinion would cast doubt on the integrity of public officials
on the PHFI board like Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia. The PHFI itself
contended that Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia was part of PHFI in his
private capacity. The constitution of PHFI raises many conflict of
interest questions quite apart from Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia.
28. According to its website, PHFI's legal status is as follows:
"The Public Health Foundation of India ("PHFI"/ "the Foundation") was
registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 vide
registration certificate number 54840 dated 8 February 2006.
PHFI has been granted an exemption under section 12A of the Income Tax
Act, 1961, vide letter number DIT(E)/12A/2005-06/P-1044/05/313 dated
16 June 2006. The Foundation has also obtained exemption u/s
80G(5)(vi) of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
The Foundation has been registered under the Foreign Contribution
(Regulation) Act, 1976 for carrying out activities of social nature
with registration number 231660927 dated 26 September 2008.
PHFI has been registered as a Scientific and Industrial Research
Organisation (SIRO) by the Department of Scientific and Industrial
Research under the Scheme on Recognition of Scientific and Industrial
Research Organisations (SIROs), 1988 Vide No. 14/482/2008-TU-V dated
23 April, 2011 for the period from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2014."
29. OECD guidelines titled "Managing Conflict of Interest in the
Public Service" dated 2003, recognize that family interests can create
a potential conflict of interest situation for public officials.
Reproduced below are extracts from these OECD guidelines:
"A "conflict of interest" is:
A conflict between the public duty and private interests of public
officials, in which public officials have private-capacity interests
which could improperly influence the performance of their official
duties and responsibilities.
A sound conflict-of-interest policy pays particular attention to:
● Policy-makers and public office holders working in the most senior positions.
The financial or pecuniary interests of officials are generally
considered as the principal causes of conflict of interest. However, a
forward-looking policy should also describe examples of other causes,
such as related-party business undertakings, personal relationships
and non-financial personal interests that can be relevant in a very
complex public sector environment. In addition, affiliations with
for-profit or non-profit organisations, or with political or
professional organisations, can also give rise to new and difficult
examples of conflict. Public organisations have the primary
responsibility to define particular situations and activities that are
incompatible with their public function.
Organisational procedures should enable public officials to identify
and disclose relevant private interests that potentially conflict with
their official duties. Such procedures should make public officials
aware that they must promptly disclose all relevant information about
a conflict when taking up office (initial disclosure), and later, when
relevant circumstances change (inservice disclosure). An effective
disclosure process ensures that the responsibility for providing
sufficient details on the conflicting interest rests with individual
officials, and this requirement is explicitly communicated in
employment and appointment arrangements and contracts.
Organisations need to consider reviewing existing management
arrangements on a regular basis, to assess whether they remain
adequate in recognizing potential risk areas. Changing practices and
expectations, for example in areas such as additional employment and
"outside" appointments, post-public employment, use of "inside"
information, public contracts, new forms of gifts and other benefits,
and different family and community expectations in a multicultural
context, can generate new forms of risk.
New forms of relationship have developed between the public sector and
the business and non-profit sectors, giving rise for example to
increasingly close forms of collaboration such as public/private
partnerships, selfregulation, interchanges of personnel, and
sponsorships. New forms of employment in the public sector have also
emerged with potential for changes to traditional employment
obligations and loyalties. In consequence, there is clearly an
emerging potential for new forms of conflict of interest involving an
individual official's private interests and public duties, and growing
public concern has put pressure on governments to ensure that the
integrity of official decision-making is not compromised.
While a conflict of interest is not ipso facto corruption, there is
increasing recognition that conflicts between the private interests
and public duties of public officials, if inadequately managed, can
result in corruption. The proper objective of an effective
conflict-of-interest policy is not the simple prohibition of all
private-capacity interests on the part of public officials, even if
such an approach were conceivable. The immediate objective should be
to maintain the integrity of official policy and administrative
decisions and of public management generally, recognising that an
unresolved conflict of interest may result in abuse of public office.
This objective can generally be achieved by ensuring that public
bodies possess and implement relevant policy standards for promoting
integrity, effective processes for identifying risk and dealing with
emergent conflicts of interest, appropriate external and internal
accountability mechanisms, and management approaches – including
sanctions – that aim to ensure that public officials take personal
responsibility for complying with both the letter and the spirit of
A "conflict of interest" involves a conflict between the public duty
and private interests of a public official, in which the public
official has private-capacity interests which could improperly
influence the performance of their official duties and
Where a private interest has in fact compromised the proper
performance of a public official's duties, that specific situation is
better regarded as an instance of misconduct or "abuse of office", or
even an instance of corruption, rather than as a "conflict of
In this definition, "private interests" are not limited to financial
or pecuniary interests, or those interests which generate a direct
personal benefit to the public official. A conflict of interest may
involve otherwise legitimate private-capacity activity, personal
affiliations and associations, and family interests, if those
interests could reasonably be considered likely to influence
improperly the official's performance of their duties. A special case
is constituted by the matter of post-public office employment for a
public official: the negotiation of future employment by a public
official prior to leaving public office is widely regarded as a
Public officials should avoid private-capacity action which could
derive an improper advantage from "inside information" obtained in the
course of official duties, where the information is not generally
available to the public, and are required not to misuse their position
and government resources for private gain.
Supporting transparency and scrutiny
● Public officials and public organisations are expected to act in a
manner that will bear the closest public scrutiny. This obligation is
not fully discharged simply by acting within the letter of the law; it
also entails respecting broader public service values such as
disinterestedness, impartiality and integrity.
● Public officials' private interests and affiliations that could
compromise the disinterested performance of public duties should be
disclosed appropriately, to enable adequate control and management of
● Public organisations and officials should ensure consistency and an
appropriate degree of openness in the process of resolving or managing
a conflict-of-interest situation.
● Public officials and public organisations should promote scrutiny of
their management of conflict-of-interest situations, within the
applicable legal framework.
More focused examples of unacceptable conduct and relationships should
be provided for those groups that are working in at-risk areas, such
as the public-private sector interface, government procurement,
regulatory and inspectorial functions, and government contracting.
Specific attention needs to be given to functions which are subject to
close public scrutiny or media attention.
Review "at-risk" areas for potential conflict-of-interest situations
a) Additional employment – Define the circumstances, including the
required authorisation procedures, under which public officials may
engage in ancillary ("outside") employment while retaining their
b) "Inside" information – Make sure that information collected or held
by public organisations which is not in the public domain, or
information obtained in confidence in the course of official
functions, is understood to be privileged, and is effectively
protected from improper use or disclosure.
c) Contracts – Consider the circumstances in which the preparation,
negotiation, management, or enforcement of a contract involving the
public organisation could be compromised by a conflict of interest on
the part of a public official within the public organisation.
d) Gifts and other forms of benefit – Consider whether the
organisation's current policy is adequate in recognising conflicts of
interest arising from traditional and new forms of gifts or benefits.
e) Family and community expectations – Consider whether the
organisation's current policy is adequate in recognising conflicts of
interest arising from expectations placed on public officials by their
family and community, especially in a multicultural context.
f) "Outside" appointments – Define the circumstances, including the
required authorisation procedures, under which a public official may
undertake an appointment on the board or controlling body of, for
example, a community group, an NGO, a professional or political
organisation, another government entity, a government-owned
corporation, or a commercial organization which is involved in a
contractual, regulatory, partnership, or sponsorship arrangement with
their employing organisation.
g) Activity after leaving public office – Define the circumstances,
including the required authorisation procedures, under which a public
official who is about to leave public office may negotiate an
appointment or employment or other activity, where there is potential
for a conflict of interest involving the organisation."
"Where an official has failed to declare a relevant interest
situation, or has allowed a conflict-of-interest situation to continue
unresolved, or has in fact allowed a private-capacity interest to
improperly influence the performance of their duties, the definition
provided by the Guidelines encourages clarification of what is
actually at stake. For example, where the official concerned has
failed to declare a relevant interest, the draft Guidelines suggest
that such a situation would be better regarded as an instance of
misconduct, and not as a simple "conflict of interest". By contrast,
where an official has acted improperly or corruptly so as to receive a
bribe or to give an illegitimate advantage to a family member (etc.),
it would be preferable to treat the matter as "abuse of office", or as
corruption (depending on the specific circumstances), rather than as a
conflict-of interest situation, even though a conflict of interest was
fundamental to the corrupt conduct.
In this definition, "private interests" are not limited to financial
or pecuniary interests, or those of direct personal benefit to the
official. Personal affiliations or relationships, debts and other
obligations, religious or ethnic associations, professional and
party-political alignments, and family interests, may come within the
scope of the definition if those interests could reasonably be
considered as likely to influence improperly the official's
performance of their duties."
30. Several OCED countries also include extra-occupational activities
within the definition of a potential conflict of interest.
31. Another example of conflict of interest involves Dr Isher
Ahluwalia who is married to Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia. Dr Isher
Ahluwalia was appointed Chairperson of a government committee
constituted in May 2008 called the High Powered Expert Committee for
estimating the investment requirements for urban infrastructure
services. The final report was released in March 2011. The McKinsey
Global Institute published a report in April 2010 titled "India's
urban awakening: building exclusive cities, sustaining economic
growth". This report was described as the result of a study also
commenced by McKinsey in 2008. The McKinsey report thanked members of
McKinsey's academic advisory committee for this project which included
Dr Isher Ahluwalia and three others. The McKinsey report attracted a
lot of publicity for McKinsey and presumably resulted in several new
business engagements. Dr Isher Ahluwalia's contemporaneous association
with and advice to McKinsey's project on urban development while she
was Chairperson of a High Powered Government of India Expert Committee
for estimating the investment requirements for urban infrastructure
services was a clear case of conflict of interest.
32. Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia's younger son, Mr Aman Ahluwalia is a
lawyer practicing in Delhi. Mr Aman Ahluwalia's wife, Ms Shilpa
Mankar, is also a lawyer and is a partner in the Banking practice at
the law-firm, Amarchand Mangaldas. This family connection again raises
a conflict of interest concern regarding Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia as
he played a key role in formulating and implementing banking and
financial policies in the Government of India.
33. Even more curious is Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia's association
with the International Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution
(ICADR). ICADR functions under the Ministry of Law & Justice,
Department of Legal Affairs, Government of India. The ICADR website
introduces the organization as follows:
"The justice dispensing system in India has come under great stress
for several reasons, chief of them being the huge pendency of cases in
courts underlining the need for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
methods. The Government of India thought it necessary to provide a new
forum and procedure for resolving international and domestic
commercial disputes quickly.
The ICADR is an autonomous organization working under the aegis of the
Ministry of Law & Justice, Govt. of India with its headquarters at New
Delhi and Regional Centres at Hyderabad and Bengaluru. The Regional
Centres of ICADR are fully funded and supported by the respective
The Chief Justice of India is the Patron of ICADR. At the regional
level, the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court is the Patron of
the Regional Centre of ICADR. Dr. H.R.Bhardwaj, Former Union Minister
for Law & Justice, Government of India is the Chairman of ICADR. The
Governing Council of ICADR comprises of several eminent personalities
drawn from various fields."
34. The Governing Council of ICADR comprises of a long list of
persons including Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, some well-known and
influential lawyers, and the law Secretary. Mr Montek Singh
Ahluwalia's presence in the governing council of ICADR is very
surprising. It appears that Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia is extending his
influence into legal circles in order to help his son, Mr Aman
Ahluwalia's career as a lawyer.
35. Even a cursory survey of news reports about Mr Montek Singh
Ahluwalia (who incidentally garnered more press coverage than any of
his colleagues in the UPA Government including the then Prime
Minister) shows that Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia routinely commented on/
lobbied for government policy issues and government decisions that did
not fall within his domain as Deputy Chairman of the Planning
Commission. Several of such interventions by Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia
raise serious conflict of interest concerns.
36. Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia used official government resources for
his extra-occupational activities and for his private interests
including those of his immediate family.
37. As an example, during a trip to the United States in June 2009
(around the time that Mr Pavan Ahluwalia was engaged in transitioning
from Old Lane to his own investment firm, Laburnum Capital), Mr Montek
Singh Ahluwalia addressed investors in New York as part of a USIBC
meeting (See Business Standard article dated June 29, 2009). Mr
Montek Singh Ahluwalia had travelled to Washington DC to participate
in a meeting of the High Level Commission on the Modernization of
World Bank Group Governance. Addressing investors and asking them to
invest in India is not the job of the Deputy Chairman of the Planning
Commission. It would be relevant to determine how many of the
investors addressed by Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia during this trip
invested in his son, Mr Pavan Ahluwalia's hedge fund.
38. Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia's role in approving the Enron Dabhol
project (for which act of corruption the Indian exchequer continues to
pay the price) has already been highlighted.
39. The Government of India and Indian citizens should note that
while Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia touted private investment in Indian
infrastructure, his own son, Mr Pavan Ahluwalia was a direct
beneficiary of such investment opportunities for the private sector in
Indian infrastructure. The Planning Commission under Mr Montek Singh
Ahluwalia set up a High Level Committee on Financing Infrastructure.
This Committee proposed that private equity funds and venture
capitalists could be permitted to be part of bidding consortia for
infrastructure projects. Again Mr Pavan Ahluwalia runs such a private
equity fund and Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia's role involved clear
conflict of interest and corruption.
40. Even Mr Pavan Ahluwalia's engagement under a World Bank funded
Project on privatization of water supply in Delhi several years ago
was the subject of conflict of interest concerns because of Mr Montek
Singh Ahluwalia's connections to the World Bank.
41. Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia has throughout his career displayed a
brazen attitude towards and has openly flouted basic principles of
good governance and conflict of interest. His conduct would never have
been tolerated in an OECD country with their strict laws about
conflict of interest and public officials.
42. I have reproduced the above complaints, facts and evidence against
Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia in
Annexure P-3 to CM 1223/ 2013 in W.P. (Civil) 1280/ 2012 filed in the
Delhi High Court in the matter of Seema Sapra v General Electric
Company and Others. This writ petition is pending before the Delhi
High Court and the next date of hearing is 25 September 2014. The PMO
is a respondent in this writ petition and has been issued notice by
the Delhi High Court.
43. The above facts raise serious concerns of corruption facilitated
by Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia and these need to be investigated in
accordance with law.