The Arvind Joshi corruption saga now has some additional characters with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) pointing a spotlight at the tainted IAS officer's NRI sisters who reportedly purchased 200 acres of land running into hundreds of crores.
The ED, which had registered a case against suspended IAS officer Arvind Joshi under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) for possessing foreign currency beyond permissible limits, is looking into the flow of money that came through the sisters.
The documents relating to the above-mentioned land were recovered from Joshi during the income tax search carried out at his residence in Bhopal in January 2010.
The search at the residence of Arvind Joshi and his wife Tinu Joshi (also an IAS officer) had uncovered huge wealth that was disproportionate to their know sources of income.
It included flats in Assam, prime farm lands in the state, jewellery and cash estimated to be approximately Rs 300 crore. Arvind Joshi was principal secretary in the water resources department and his wife Tinu Joshi was principal secretary of woman and child development department when the raids took place.
State government suspended the couple after the I-T searches. Joshi, in his statements given to the income tax department, had said the land belonged to his sisters, who live abroad.
One sister lives in US and the other in Germany, he had said. The Enforcement Directorate has now issued summons to his two sisters through the Indian embassy in their respective countries of residence.
In the summons, the ED has asked them to explain their position as to how they sent money to India to purchase property and where they got the money from.
According to ED officials, NRIs cannot purchase property in India unless they have necessary permits from the Union home ministry, Reserve Bank of India. The directorate said it will wait for a response from the two sisters till April, after which it will decide upon a course of action.
"Either they can come or they can send their representatives," officials said. The ED is investigating the case in two parts - whether the foreign currency found from Joshi's possession is legal and second, how did his two sisters send the money and whether they had purchasing the properties legally.