December 17, 2016 3:30:17 am
Income Tax officials have recovered cash worth Rs 1.33 crore from accounts linked to Surat financier Kishor Bhajiyawala, who was allegedly exchanging demonetised currency notes for a commission. Of the 1.33 crore in cash, Rs 95 lakh are in the new Rs 2000 notes. The remaining sum is in demonetised notes and Rs 50, Rs 20 and Rs 100 notes.
Besides the cash, I-T officials have also seized gold ornaments worth more than Rs 7 crore and silver worth over Rs 72 lakh. This apart, documents of property valued at nearly Rs 400 crore have been recovered from Bhajiyawala’s house.
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The raids, which started on December 13, are still on.
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Bhajiyawala came under the scanner after I-T officials learned that he was allegedly exchanging demonetised notes from his office in Udhna gam. On December 13, the Directorate of Investigation wing of I-T raided his office and recovered cash worth Rs 23 lakh.
During the investigation, officials learnt that Bhajiyawala reportedly operated more than 30 bank accounts and 16 lockers in Surat People’s Cooperative Bank, Bank of Baroda and HDFC Bank. These accounts had been opened in the name of Bhajiyawala and his family members. The financier allegedly operated many dummy accounts and lockers, said officials.
The I-T officials have also found papers of Kisan Vikas Patra worth Rs 4.50 lakh. A diary, in which Bhajiyawala reportedly kept records of money loaned to people, has also been recovered. I-T officials said that the financier wrote in code words, which they were now trying to crack. Over 70 documents of properties, including bungalows, flats, houses, shops and agricultural land have been seized from his house.
According to officials, Bhajiyawala made crores every month through his finance business.
Sources said Bhajiyawala migrated from Saurashtra 31 years ago and set up a small tea stall in Udhnagam after taking loans. He later also started selling bhajiya with tea. After his business flourished, he started lending money to people. When the borrower failed to repay the loan with interest, he would take over his property, said sources.
Bhajiyawala is learnt to have links with local political leaders and police officials and allegedly threatened borrowers who failed to repay loans.
Sources in the I-T department also claimed that the day after the government’s announcement of the demonetisation move, Bhajiyawala went to the Udhna branch of Surat district cooperative bank with bags suspected to be filled with cash. The I-T department seized footage of CCTV cameras at the bank and questioned Bhajiyawala, who reportedly failed to come up with satisfactory answers.
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