New Delhi, June 19 (IANS) The CBI on Monday questioned Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain’s wife in an ongoing probe against the minister over allegations of money laundering, prompting the AAP government to accuse the Modi government of using the agency to “silence dissenters”.
A team of Central Bureau of Investigation officials questioned Poonam at the Jains’ residence for hours.
“We have examined Poonam Jain,” said the CBI, which on April 10 registered a preliminary inquiry against the minister based on the evidence it had collected against him in connection with “laundering” Rs 4.63 crore in 2015-16. The CBI had questioned Jain on June 1 and 2.
The CBI refuted allegations that it raided the minister’s residence. “The time and date was pre-decided by Poonam and it was conveyed by her to the CBI,” it said.
Jain was accused of being involved in money laundering through some Kolkata-based companies. He was also accused of laundering Rs 11.78 crore in 2010-12 through these companies and a Delhi-based company.
The matter was referred to the CBI by the Income Tax Department, which in September 2016 summoned Jain for his alleged links with the firms that were under scanner for alleged hawala or proxy transactions. Jain has denied the charges against him.
The Aam Aadmi Party government led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal denounced the Modi government for what it said was misuse of the CBI
Referring to Panama papers and several other scams, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said: “The only ploy to divert the attention from billion rupee scams is to send the CBI daily to one AAP leader’s place.”
Poonam’s questioning comes days after the CBI reached Sisodia’s residence regarding alleged irregularities in a ‘Talk to AK’ social media campaign.
The CBI then too had denied raiding or searching Disodia’s residence and said officers went there only to record his statement.
Delhi government spokesperson Arunoday Prakash tweeted: “Another day, another raid! CBI now raids Minister Jain’s residence. Centre trying to silence dissenters via caged parrot.
“BJP model: You make Mohalla Clinics, save money in projects, (provide) free medicines, tests and surgeries… We (the BJP) will keep troubling you with CBI, IT (Income Tax Department), ED (Enforcement Directorate),” he added.
AAP leader Saurabh Bhardawaj accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of using the CBI and Income Tax Department for fabricating evidence against the Minister.
Bharadwaj said the BJP claimed that a landline number was used to make phone calls to businessmen in Kolkata but that number was out of service since 2014. He also said that the number did not have STD facility.
One of the witnesses, Babloo Pathak, has denied any relation with Jain after he was brought face-to-face with the Minister.
Bharadwaj challenged the agency to confront three more witnesses examined by the CBI with Jain so as to bring out the truth. He said the CBI had turned down the request.
Sacked Delhi minister Kapil Mishra had earlier alleged that Jain was involved in several scams including hawala trade and land deals.