Delhi minister Satyendra Jain faces CBI probe
The inquiry was registered to look into allegations that the AAP leader, already battling nepotism charges, laundered Rs 4 crore through a web of shell companies.delhi Updated: Apr 12, 2017 01:17 IST
The CBI registered on Tuesday a preliminary enquiry (PE) to look into accusations of money laundering by Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain, the latest blow to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that has been hit by charges of corruption.
The enquiry was registered to look into allegations that the AAP leader, already battling accusations of nepotism, laundered over Rs 4 crore through a web of shell companies, officials in the Central Bureau of Investigation told HT. A preliminary enquiry is done to ascertain if the accusations merit a probe.
The development comes barely days before crucial elections to the Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD) and will potentuially give the BJP and Congress a chance to target the AAP.
Jain, however, rejected the allegations, terming the CBI’s PE as ‘politically motivated” ahead of the elections.
“The Delhi government has started providing healthcare free of cost to all Delhi citizens. It has affected the politicians and pressure groups. No other government in the country provides free medicines and free diagnostic tests, irrespective of the cost. So all this is expected,” he added.
Documents of Income Tax department state that Jain controlled three private companies and was allegedly using them to launder money since 2010.
Sources in CBI however said Jain had quit positions in these companies but continued to control them and even bought agricultural land through the illicit money routed through these firms.
The allegations against Jain pertain to the acquisition of agriculture land worth over Rs 27 crore in Delhi by private companies linked with him and misuse of his official position to influence regularisation of illegal colonies in the national capital, said CBI officials. IT documents suggested that Jain had “ purchased more than 200 bigha” in north and northwest Delhi “in close vicinity of unauthorised colonies in the name of companies controlled by him”.
“During his stint as Delhi minister he misused his position to convert this agricultural land into residential type,” a source said on condition of anonymity.
“The efforts of the AAP government to regularise unauthorised colonies during first tenure of AAP government from 28.12.2014 to 14.02.2014 and present tenure appears to be linked with the investments in agricultural land by Shri Jain. The proposed regularisation of unauthorised colonies will convert these agricultural lands into residential and commercial land which will provide huge returns on the investment by Shri Jain,” read the IT documents.
The matter was referred to the CBI by income tax department under the new Benami Transactions Prohibitions Act, a law brought in to fight black money. The I-T department has been probing Jain since June 2014, official documents with HT show.IT documents state that dummy directors of the shell companies were recorded in 2014 between June 26 to July 7.
“Dummy directors of these companies Bhawanath Jha, Gopal Maity, Mithilesh Kumar Mishra,Tara Kanth Choudhary, Rajesh Kumar Jha and Biswanath Maity, in their statements under section 131 of the act recorded on 27.06.2014, 26.06.2014, 27.06.2014, 26.06.2014, 02.02.2014, 27.06.2014 and 26.06.2014 had also accepted that shell companies were engaged in providing accommodation entries through cheque in lieu of cash received from beneficiaries by Shri Mishra,” reads the document.
Tax authorities submitted their findings to the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which tracks money-laundering and investigates foreign exchange violations.
Jain was in the news recently after a three-member committee that examined various decisions taken by the Kejriwal government red-flagged his daughter’s appointment to the Delhi state health mission.
Soumya Jain, who is an architect by training, didn’t have the qualification for the job, the Shunglu committee said in its report.
The Congress made the report’s findings public after obtaining information through RTI.
Jain dismissed the report as “mud-slinging” and said no irregularity was committed by the AAP government. He also rejected as “all lies” the allegations surrounding his daughter’s appointment”.