ED raids CM’s brother on money laundering charge, Cong hits out

The customs department’s investigation report, reviewed by HT, states that Agrasain Gehlot’s company – M/s Anupam Krishi – allegedly played a key role in the irregularities.
An ED official wearing a PPE suit raids the farmhouse and residence of Agrasain Gehlot, brother of CM Ashok Gehlot.(PTI)
An ED official wearing a PPE suit raids the farmhouse and residence of Agrasain Gehlot, brother of CM Ashok Gehlot.(PTI)
Updated on Jul 23, 2020 06:32 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Jaipur | ByNeeraj Chauhan and Jaykishan Sharma

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday conducted raids across the country including premises of Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot’s brother Agrasain Gehlot and his company for alleged money laundering in the export of a fertiliser meant for Indian farmers illegally in connivance with others, people familiar with the developments said.

The agency has registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on the basis of an investigation carried out by the customs department and the Directorate of Revenue and Intelligence (DRI) in 2009 in the export of Muriate of Potash or MOP worth Rs 57 lakh in 12 consignments the same year. MOP is a restricted commodity for export under the foreign trade policy.

The customs department’s investigation report, reviewed by HT, states that Agrasain Gehlot’s company – M/s Anupam Krishi – allegedly played a key role in the irregularities. The MOP was exported to companies in Malaysia and Singapore, an official said on condition of anonymity.

The DRI, too, launched an investigation in the matter in 2012-13 which, an official said, was completed recently. Following this, ED registered a money laundering case, the official added.

The searches come at a time when CM Gehlot is locked in a political battle with Sachin Pilot, who has been ousted from the posts of the deputy chief minister and the state Congress president.

The customs probe report states that Agrasain Gehlot “knowingly opted to become a part of the syndicate in the entire chain of conspiracy by facilitating the said consortium (of private companies) by supplying subsidized MOP, which was meant for sale to farmers only and forged documents for which he admittedly gained certain amount as his commission”.

ED raided a total of 13 places in Rajasthan, Delhi, West Bengal and Rajasthan in connection with the case. ED and the income tax department are also investigating Ashok Gehlot’s son Vaibhav Gehlot in connection with his links with a hotelier. IT teams, on July 13, searched several premises in Rajasthan and Mumbai belonging to three business groups including the hotelier’s on charges of tax evasion and recovered around ~12 crore in cash. Premises linked to two state Congress leaders were also searched. CM Gehlot has said that there are attempts to destabilise the government in Rajasthan.

Reacting to the ED raids on Wednesday, the Congress said the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership in Delhi created a “raid raj” and was using federal agencies to arm-twist lawmakers to bring down the Ashok Gehlot government

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala, who has been camping in Jaipur to help the Gehlot government survive a rebellion led by Pilot, said the latest round of ED raids were ordered by the BJP leadership after three previous attempts to arm-twist Congress leaders and lawmakers did not succeed

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