Clarification: Limitations of the Lahoti Committee
From what I gather many people have been trying to get in touch with former Justice Lahoti due to the fact that details about the process have been kept secret by all involved.
When you’re dealing with 1.2 million members, the largest ponzi scheme to ever hit india and hundreds of millions of dollars, tensions often run high and there’s a lot at stake.
After allegedly voicing his disapproval at being contacted by Speak Asia panelists, the company’s senior panelists and AISPA demanded Speak Asia’s members cease all attempts at contacting Lahoti.
Subsequently since the November 28th four-hour long sitting of the committee, little has been revealed about what actually went down.
Due to his standing as the person who filed the first First Incident Report (FIR) which subsequently prompted a whole host of government agencies to launch investigations into Speak Asia, Navniit Kkhosla was able to recently speak to Lahoti on the phone and clarify a few things.
Kkhosla was also gracious enough to share what he and Lahoti discussed with us. The following is Kkhosla’s own transcript of what he and Lahoti discussed over the phone (in green), along with my own commentary and analysis.
1. The matter before Lordship is mediation between the petitioners and Speak Asia and only the parties in WP (Cvl) 383 / 2011 would be permitted to participate in the proceedings and no information about the proceedings or the dates of hearing would be circulated publicly.
The important message conveyed here is that, due to reasons that still remain unknown, Lahoti is part of the restriction of information regarding the hearing not being circulated publicly.
From his standpoint I can’t really see a reason why Lahoti would care either way, and I can only speculate that it remains in the best interest of Speak Asia and the other parties involved to suppress information about the Committee meetings.
In the absence of any reason he himself stands to benefit from a closed-door committee hearing, for whatever reason Lahoti seems to have gone along with this.
2. That any body interested in being impleaded would have to go to the Supreme Court for the same before he can attend the mediation proceedings.
This doesn’t really mean much apart from the fact that last I remember Bahirwani mentioning AISPA was looking to get impleaded into the Lahoti Committee.
This no doubt not co-incidentally seems to co-incide with Bahirwani publicly asking for financial support from Speak Asia’s memberbase.
Whether AISPA has approached the Supreme Court as of yet I don’t know.
3. The mediation process before Lordship is in no way connected to the present criminal investigation being carried out by the EOW, I Tax, ED and there is absolutely no bar subsequent prosecution.
This is the big one out of the four, as it clearly clarifies that the Lahoti Committee action in no way affects any of the criminal investigations nor subsequent criminal legal action taken against Speak Asia.
I’ve been saying this for as long as I can remember but due to an absence of common sense, Speak Asia’s senior panelists have been pushing the line that the Supreme Court action and Lahoti Committee will somehow abolish any standing criminal investigations and/or pending criminal action as a result of those investigations.
4. The present mediation proceedings are for the panelists who have filed the case and all the related matters would be examined.
Not as important as point 3. but interesting nonetheless as just yesterday Solomon James (a panelist involved in the Lahoti Committee) put out the following update on Facebook;
GOOD EVENING FRIENDS,
ONCE AGAIN I WOULD LIKE TO REFRESH YOUR MIND THAT THE SUPREME COURT WRIT IS NOT ONLY FOR 235 PERSON BUT FOR EACH REGISTERED PANALIST (sic).
Now if I’m reading Lahoti’s clarification properly, he’s clearly stating that the mediation proceedings are only going to affect the panelists involved. Whereas Solomon James is reassuring everyone that the committee meeting is for ‘every registered panelist‘.
These two positions are naturally at odds with eachother and both men are involved in the committee itself. With Lahoti ultimately running things though, I’m going to go with his clarification.
Seeing as none of the parties involved currently represent every panelist and the action is civil, how the Lahoti Committee outcome affect everyone?
Even if AISPA were to implead themselves into the Committee, it is only they themselves that claim they represent every panelists. They certainly don’t in any official capacity that can be put down on paper and certified (nobody has taken a census of Speak Asia’s 1.2 million members have they?)
As it stands, the Lahoti Committee outcome serves only the interests of the 234 panelists recorded on the Solomon writ.
In light of Lahoti’s clarifications, some people have begun to ask me what’s going to happen next.
As always, I can only work with the information infront of me and as it stands, Kkhosla mentioned that Lahoti confirmed that the ‘ EOW, ED, IT and RBI, etc’ (CID, MCA and SFIO?) are now party to the Lahoti Committee and will participate.
Given that we’ve received concrete clarification that whatever goes on in the Lahoti Committee and its ultimate conclusion will in no way shape or form affect any criminal investigation or legal action by the above named authorities, we can gauge what their involvement will mean by looking at what they’ve already publicly stated about Speak Asia.
The EOW have stated that Speak Asia is the largest MLM fraud they’ve ever had to investigate and called it a multi-crore fraud. They’ve also stated that the company made about 2,200-2,400 crore but owes panelists a total of roughly 30,000 crore in reward points.
The ED have stated they’ve booked Speak Asia for money laundering and intend to file criminal charges.
The IT have claimed their investigation has revealed that Speak Asia is guilty of tax evasion.
The MCA have stated that when their investigative branch, the SFIO, hand down their report on Speak Asia (due sometime this month), they intend to ‘nail’ the company in court by the end of December.
Now, keeping in mind that the Lahoti Committee is a completely civil affair solely dealing with payments to panelists, how could the inclusion of any of the above government authorities, given their stance on Speak Asia, prove in any way positive for the 224 panelists being represented at the Lahoti Committee?
Common sense has led us in analysis up to this point and common sense would point to the inclusion of these authorities as being a disaster not only for the panelists being represented, but for Speak Asia itself.
Not withstanding the fact that until now, Speak Asia has gotten away with presenting to the court a business model they never even implemented or used, and passing it off as one they did.
How is it then going to look when these respective agencies attend the Lahoti Committee and explain that the business model Speak Asia submitted is not the one they have been investigating Speak Asia under, because it’s one they never used between May 2010 and May 2011?
Look at it from Lahoti’s viewpoint, he walks into the next meeting and one by one these departments lay out their accusations against Speak Asia, which are all a result of the ongoing criminal investigations into the company.
Now if you were Lahoti, what would you report back to the Supreme Court?