Lucknow / New Delhi:
Days after a tax raid on a businessman in Uttar Pradesh revealed conspicuous piles of cash, but raised questions about whether it had found its intended target, the opposition party Samajwadi Party’s Pushpraj ‘Pampi’ Jain found itself searched by authorities this morning.
Around 50 places are being searched by the income tax department in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Mumbai, which is linked to the businessman who owns perfumery, petrol pumps and cold room operations and had launched a ‘Samajwadi Party perfume’ ahead of the UP election, which was to take place in the beginning of next year.
The opposition party responded to the raids on Twitter: “As soon as the respected national president Akhilesh Yadav announced the press conference in Kannauj, the BJP government started carrying out guerrilla actions on the spot of SP MLC Pampi Jain. BJP’s fears and anger are evident. People are ready to learn BJP a lesson! “
The raid comes amid a fog of speculation surrounding the huge move in Kanpur and Kannauj’s premises by another businessman Piyush Jain, which led to the recovery of Rs 196 crore in cash and 23kg of gold.
When the raids came in the midst of a high-profile election campaign, they have come into political speeches in which the BJP and Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi party accuse each other of supporting the imprisoned perfume dealer.
BJP had claimed that it was Piyush Jain who recently launched the Samajwadi perfume. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Kanpur on Wednesday, when he struck a blow against the opposition party: “Boxes full of banknotes have come out. The people of Kanpur understand business and trade well. Before 2017, the perfume of corruption they had sprinkled over it Uttar Pradesh is there for all to see. “
Yadav has retaliated, saying the BJP had mixed businessman Piyush Jain with the Samajwadi party’s Pushpraj Jain, who launched the perfume named after the party. He denied any connection to Piyush Jain, saying the BJP had “its own businessman assaulted by mistake”.
Following Mr Yadav’s response, Congressman P Chidambaram took to Twitter, wondering if the tow was a “comedy of error”. “I suppose the comedy does not end here. As more accusations are traded between BJP and SP, more characters will emerge,” he said.
Pushpraj Jain had told NDTV that he had no connections to Piyush Jain and that he was “sorry about the low level of politics”. “It’s under the belt to use my name in connection with the raids,” he said. Asked about Mr Chidambaram’s tweet, Jain said: “He may be right, the raids may have been planned for me.”
However, sources from the Directorate-General for GST Intelligence (DGGI) rejected the theory of false identity. They have said they have received specific input regarding alleged tax evasion from the Shikhar Pan Masala group. An investigation led them to the transport company Ganapati Road Carriers and Piyush Jain’s Odochem Industries, the sources said.