Former Uttar Pradesh government minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati, who is currently lodged in a prison in connection with a rape case, has bought the benami properties on the name of the daily wagers. The revelations were made during the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raids at several locations in the state on Wednesday against the former minister.
The agency seized incriminating documents including computers and electronic records relating to transactions of immovable properties acquired by Prajapati, his family and associated companies.
An ED official said that the agency carried out searches at seven locations on Wednesday including residence of Prajapati in Lucknow and Amethi, company offices in Lucknow, residence of a Chartered Accountant in Kanpur and houses of two benami holders of Prajapati in Lucknow and Amethi.
The official said that during searches more than 100 registries of different properties spread across Lucknow, Kanpur, Amethi, Sitapur, etc. were unearthed. IANS had reported on Wednesday that the ED had identified more than 50 properties of Prajapati during the raids. The official said that the agency sleuths also recovered allotment letters of four villas in Mumbai, valued at Rs 2.5 crore each, belonging to the family members of Prajapati.
The properties of Prajapati identified are — nine properties of MGA Hospitality in Faizabad and Sitapur valued at Rs 5.78 crore, five properties of MAGS Enterprises in Kanpur and Lucknow valued at Rs 95 lakh, 11 properties of Anil Prajapati (a son of Prajapati) in Lucknow, Kanpur, Amethi and Mumbai valued at Rs 7.54 crore, eight properties on the name of Anurag Prajapati (another son of Prajapati) in Mumbai, Lucknow, Amethi, Raebareli, Sultanpur valued at Rs 3.6 crore, one property of Shilpa Prajapati in Mumbai valued at Rs 2.1 crore, two properties of MGA Colonizers in Lucknow valued at Rs 79 lakh and 44 benami properties worth Rs 17.15 crore in Lucknow.
The official said besides the aforesaid properties, the agency sleuths also recovered documents of 23 properties ranging between Rs 3 to 36 lakh in the name of a single benami, whose residence has also been searched.
The official said that during the ED probe it was revealed that the cash deposits in the bank accounts of Prajapati’s family members and companies were found to be non-commensurate with their income tax filings.
“It was revealed that during the period, the accused remained Minister in the UP government, his company rose exponentially in net worth which he could not explain satisfactorily during his examination,” the official said.
He further said that investigation also revealed that his family members had paid substantial tax on undisclosed income under the Income Declaration Scheme, 2016. The official said, “Discreet inquiries conducted by ED against the benami holders revealed that they were daily wage earners from humble backgrounds incapable of owning or acquiring the properties revealed and confirmed during investigation.”
It was further revealed that after the arrest of Prajapati in March 2017 in a rape case, his sons have clandestinely sold off some of the properties for personal gains and to influence key witnesses in the trial case against the former minister.
The ED had registered a case of money laundering last year against Prajapati and others on the basis of FIR registered by CBI into alleged irregularities in the renewal of sand mining leases in Uttar Pradesh’s Fatehpur district between 2012 and 2016.
It has been alleged that Prajapati in collusion with other government officials and private persons, had got the mining leases renewed without following proper process of e-tendering and thereby aiding and abetting illegal mining in the district.
The official said that the Prajapati is also being probed by the UP Vigilance in disproportionate assets case on November 26 this year.
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with modified headline.)
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