BHOPAL: The twin currency demonetisation crackdown post November 8, 2016 by the income tax department against the business interests of ruling BJP leader Sushil Vaswani and family has led to discovery of benami property worth around Rs 10 crores here.
The income tax department recently attached a commercial complex in Bairagarh area, which as per investigations is benami property of the business group owned by Vaswani and his family.
A native of Bairagarh (Bhopal) Sushil Vaswani is the former chairman of Madhya Pradesh Awas Sangh (a cabinet minister rank) and is believed to be close to several senior BJP leaders, including cabinet minister Umashankar Gupta.
According to a senior I-T department official in Bhopal, the department was continuing searches and surveys at Sushil Vaswani’s varied business interests in Bhopal since December 2016.
A sustained probe by the I-T department led the tax sleuths to a commercial complex in Bhopal. “On paper the complex was owned by two private companies- Sun Vision Infratech Private Limited and Sri Gurumukh Das Contractors Private Limited. But subsequent investigations into operations of both these companies revealed that they merely existed on paper,” said a senior I-T official on Friday.
It was later discovered that both these fake companies were actually used by the Vaswani family and their business associates as conduits to transfer funds for the commercial complex, with an on paper value of Rs 4 crore. But the actual value could well be around Rs 10 crores, the official added.
A case has already been registered under the provisions of the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act against the Vaswanis’ business group and the benami property has been attached recently.
The Vaswani family now has the option to appeal against the attachment order before the appellate authority under the benami property law at the Enforcement Directorate office in New Delhi, the official added.
The Vaswani family has diverse business interests spanning from a cooperative bank in Bairagarh, stakes in real estate, heavy engineering business, hotels and hospitality sector among others.
The crackdown began in December 2016 following intelligence inputs about a heavy chunk of black money parked in the accounts of Mahanagar Nagrik Sahkari Bank in Bairagarh.
The bank, founded by Sushil Vaswani in 1992, is presently headed by his wife Kiran. Over 150 accounts of the cooperative bank had come under the scanner as heavy sums of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes were deposited post demonetisation by the Narendra Modi government.
The I-T department’s investigations subsequently led to undeclared income worth several crores by the Vaswani family.
When contacted, state BJP spokesperson Rahul Kothari confirmed that Sushil Vaswani, who is the ex-chairperson of MP Swas Sangh is still a BJP member.
His sister-in-law is a local corporator of the party from Bairagarh area. “We’re keeping tab over the development and a final call will be taken soon by state party president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan,” said Rahul Kothari.