Uttar Pradesh: IT department conducts raids on premises of two Kannauj-based perfume dealers

DAYS AFTER the Goods and Sales Tax (GST) authorities allegedly recovered undisclosed money totaling over Rs 194 crore from locations linked to Kanpur-based perfume retailer Peeyush Jain, the Income Tax Department conducted searches of premises in Kannauj on Friday. two more perfume retailers, i.a. Samajwadi Party MLC Pushpraj “Pampi” Jain.

The searches were still going on late Friday with no official comments on the result, but they triggered a heated political exchange of views with the UP polls on the horizon.

Union Minister of the Interior Amit Shah and Minister of Finance of the Union Nirmala Sitharaman pointed fingers at the Samajwadi party, while SP leader Akhilesh Yadav said that income tax, ED and CBI are “alliance partners” of BJP in voting states. The IT searches came a few hours before Akhilesh was to speak at a press conference in Kannauj.

Talking to Indian ExpressPawan Trivedi, head of the Attar and Perfumers Association in Kannauj, said: “I have become aware that the income tax department has carried out raids on the premises of Samajwadi Party MLC Pushpraj Jain and another perfume manager Fauzan Malik.”

Police sources in Kannauj said a team of tax officials reached Pushpraj Jain’s residence on Jain Street in Kannauj and his factory nearby.

Sources said Malik’s residence and factory are located in the same building in the Mandai area near Jain Street.

“Fauzan runs the factory from the ground floor of his house. His unit is said to be one of the oldest perfume manufacturing companies in Kannauj. He also has units in Lucknow and Mumbai, ”said a local perfumer who did not want to be identified.

When contacted, SP’s Kannauj district president Kaleem Khan said Malik had no affiliation with political parties. Local police said they had no knowledge of the outcome of the raids. Pushpraj Jain was not available for comment.

Indian Express had reported on December 29 that Pushpraj Jain also owns a gas station and a cold room, earns agricultural income and has a house and office in Mumbai.

SP MLC’s name appeared in the spotlight after Akhilesh referred to the raids on Peeyush Jain’s premises last week, noting that the “wrong Jain” was being attacked by central authorities. SP’s Jain, he said, is Pushpraj, whose latest perfume he had launched last month and called it “Samajwadi ittra”.

According to GST authorities, unregistered cash of over 194 crore Rs and 23kg of gold was found in the search operation on properties allegedly linked to Peeyush Jain in Kanpur and Kannauj.

The recent raids, meanwhile, sparked heated political reactions.

Amit Shah spoke to a public assembly in Ayodhya and said: “Today raids are taking place, so why are there problems in their stomach … Bhai Akhilesh, aapko kya takleef hai (Akhilesh brother, what is bothering you)?”

Referring to the raids on Peeyush Jain and in response to allegations by the SP that he was linked to the BJP, Sitharaman said the cash recovery “is not BJP money”.

She claimed that the recovery has “shaken” Akhilesh, who “should have condemned” the results, but defends the businessman. “He should not question the professionalism of the law enforcement. The height of the wall is the height of the cash (recovered). It has been proven,” she said.

“How do they know whose money it is? Are they partners? Only if you run a business in partnership with someone would you then know where your money or your partner’s money is? I say it’s not BJP money. It , who has been caught red-handed, maybe he’s their partner or friend, maybe that’s why the former prime minister is shaken, ”she said.

Asked about the raids carried out ahead of the by-elections, Sitharaman said that “a thief is only caught when the theft happens”. “You are not waiting for a ‘muhurat’ to take action,” she said.

After Friday’s raids, Akhilesh said that while the SP “has entered into an alliance with regional parties, the BJP has joined these agencies from Delhi”.

He accused the IT department of working with the BJP directive. “As the election gets closer, more BJP leaders will visit the UP and more raids will be carried out,” he said, adding that such raids were also carried out earlier, during the election in West Bengal. “But still people voted against the BJP,” he said.

(With ENS Economic Bureau)


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