Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, after attending the GST Council meeting on Friday, said the nearly Rs 200 crore cash recovered during the income tax department’s search operations on the premises of perfume maker Piyush Jain is “not BJP money”. Speaking to reporters on the timing of the tax raids, she said law-enforcing agencies act on actionable intelligence.
“It is not BJP money,” the union finance minister said when asked whether the opposition’s allegation that the Rs 197.49 crore cash recovered from Piyush Jain in Uttar Pradesh’s Kannauj was her party’s money was true and that the tax authorities had raided the person by “mistake” and were now raiding the other Jain they had originally wanted to target.
Sitharaman said former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was “shaken” by the raids, seeking to defend the action.
“How do you know whose money it is? Are you his partner? Because only partners know whose money is kept,” Sitharaman remarked. Dismissing the opposition charge that the raids were politically motivated, she asked if the raiding parties returned empty-handed.
The recovery of money showed there was actionable intelligence, she said, adding that the raids happening on Friday were based on such inputs too.
On 26 December, Kannauj-based perfume maker Piyush Jain was raided. The recovery of a huge amount of cash stunned the officials. The cash was stashed in underground bunkers, eyewitnesses accompanying the tax officials said. The finance ministry said the seizure of Rs 177 crore unaccounted cash was the biggest ever seizure of cash by an enforcement agency.
The raid became a political issue ahead of the Uttar Pradesh election as Peeyush Jain was linked with Samajwadi Party which the party denied.
Akhilesh Yadav said the BJP got its own businessman raided by mistake. “By mistake, the BJP got its own businessman raided. Instead of SP leader Pushpraj Jain, it got Peeyush Jain raided,” Akhilesh said. Pushpraj Jain, on the other hand, is an SP MLC who launched Samajwadi perfume.
Incidentally, Pushpraj Jain was raided on Friday as part of the income tax department’s action on certain perfume traders in Uttar Pradesh. Searches were conducted on 30-40 premises in Kannauj, Kanpur, Delhi, Surat, Mumbai and a few other places.
Both Piyush Jain and Pushpraj Jain have their residential premises located at a distance of a few metres in the same locality in Kannauj.
“The raids were pre-determined. Information was coming here for the past few days that raids have started on SP leaders. Here, for the last two weeks, there have been raids on people associated with Samajwadi and whenever the BJP leaders from Delhi come to Uttar Pradesh they bring these agencies along. During this time, they are instructed to conduct raids,” Akhilesh said today.
“Remember, when there were elections in West Bengal, all the agencies of Delhi had reached Bengal. It happened with Stalin in Tamil Nadu and the same thing happened in Bangalore,” Akhilesh said.