KANNAUJ/KANPUR: The six-day long investigation spread across Kanpur and Kannauj at two residences of businessman and perfume-maker Peeyush Jain has discovered that a walking closet was used since 2010 by him to stash unaccounted cash, that stands at Rs 197-crore even as directorate general of GST intelligence (DGGI), a law enforcement agency under the Union finance ministry fighting tax, has now reached the doors of a tobacco company to ascertain the beneficiary of this money.
DGGI officials told The New Indian they have sent summons to Shikhar Gutkha Private Limited directors Pradeep Aggarwal and Deepak Aggarwal.
“We know for certain this wealth doesn’t belong to Peeyush. He is only a manufacturer of a synthetic chemical compound, a knowledge he inherited from his father. The compound — that added essence, flavour and scent — was used by Shikhar group as a raw material,” said a senior DGGI official.
DGGI are trying to find out if the proceeds of cash belonged to Shikhar Gutkha.
“We have only recorded statement of Shikhar group’s Kanpur factory’s manager. That’s where the truth evasion would come out. The GST cess upto 290 % and 28 % tax on pan masala is a huge amount for any company or individual to build a case to save money. Generation of this amount isn’t a big case in point here as much is evasion,” the official said.
While the BJP is blaming the Samajwadi Party (SP) of harbouring “such businessmen in Uttar Pradesh for promoting mafia, extortion rackets and support and run its political campaign”, SP has hit back, saying the GST was a controversial bill brought in the BJP to stop black money but evasion continues.
Jain ran three companies, Odochem, Flor Natural and Odosynth Incorporation, each based out Kannauj and were used to manufacture these compounds.
Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials in Lucknow said they have joined the probe, seeking details of his company’s mode of business and operations across various states, including transport companies used to transfer raw material.
A MSc post-graduate in chemistry, Peeyush, who grew up in Kannauj, a town known largely for its scents, is accused of using his brother-in-law Praveen Jain’s transport firm Ganpati Road Carriers to route both cash and raw material between cities.
“The Kanpur home in Anandpuri has been registered in his mothers name. There were no vehicles at his home. Only his son was sitting there. He came the next day. The money was in seven cupboards in as many almirahs. Two each were in his two bedrooms. There was a basement – route to which was through a walk-in closet that where we found three other cupboards. His son didn’t know Peeyush operated that basement through walking closet,” said a DGGI official.
Six counting machines of State Bank of India (SBI) were brought in from Kanpur branch and 40 officials of currency chest of the bank were deployed to sort, count and pack cash multiple times.
“Three SBI machines became non-operational due to the heat generated by repeated counting of haul of cash. Our coughing would not stop. We had to order food and drinks for soothing using Zomato and Swiggy,” the official said.
“We had to bring reinforcement everyday. None of us took bath for four days or had time to brush our teeth till the counting was completed. Initially, when we started off we were four people, we got other teams. We will get to the bottom of this and find the real beneficiary,” he added.
Peeyush himself was a strict Jain vegetarian and would not eat after the sunset.
“He only came on the second day of our raids. He came prepared and was very quiet throughout the raids,” official said.
In Kannauj, the entire haul of Rs 19 crore cash was hidden inside the concealed wooden back of the bed. The 23 kg gold and 600-kg sandalwood oil were found in three cans which were lying in the basement area , official added.
“We also suspect their father Mahesh Chandra Jain who was a chemist, could have set up this entire business,” said an official.
Jain’s lawyer aren’t forthcoming yet on whether Peeyush will spill the beans on end beneficiaries.
“My first job is to secure a bail for Peeyush. It may take 3-4 days for this process to complete. I haven’t been supplied with certified copies of his arrest and evasion. We know such a huge amount has been recovered from his home. But let me study all documents,” Jain’s lawyer Sudhir Malviya told The New Indian.
DGGI has so far denied that Peeyush has made any voluntary payment as penalty of tax evasion.
“Just by depositing payment in your own bank account, you can’t get away with the evasion liabilities. There’s is a GST DRC-03 form that has to be submitted. The investigations would now reveal the name of beneficiary and distinguish the real culprit from victim,” said an official.