No one knows the exact truth but the confusion over letter ‘P’ has led to a fresh slinging match between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh which is gearing up for the upcoming Assembly elections.
According to top sources, the two Jains – Piyush and Pushpraj – who have been at the centre of the political storm, share the same surname, profession and even the locality where they live in Kannauj.
It was this that apparently led to confusion and diverted tax officials to Piyush Jain’s house last week and this ‘mistake’ led to one of the biggest seizures in the history of the country with sacks full of cash, gold, silver and sandalwood.
The BJP jumped the gun and announced that Piyush Jain was the same perfumer who had launched the ‘Samajwadi Itr’ in November and insisted on his links with the SP.
As cash tumbled out of walls in Piyush Jain’s house, the BJP gleefully questioned SP’s role and share in the stashed treasures.
Akhilesh waited for two days and after photographs of stacks of recovered currency went viral, he clarified that this ‘P Jain’ was not the one who belonged to his party. This was Piyush and his was Pushpraj, also known as Pampi.
By then even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had linked the ‘bad smell of itr’ to Piyush Jain’s black money while Akhilesh linked it to the failure of demonetisation and claimed that Piyush Jain actually was a BJP supporter.
The tax agencies, apparently on the path of course correction, then raided the houses and offices of Pushpraj Jain on Friday.
Akhilesh said the BJP wanted to target and ended up raiding the houses and offices of its own supporter.
When Pushpraj Jain was raided on Friday, the SP President said that this was an ‘election duty’ by central agencies. The raids were carried out on locations in Mumbai, Delhi and Gujarat.
The IT department has not yet shared any further details but people familiar with developments said the raids were launched after investigators obtained details from the Goods and Services Tax department about possible income tax evasion by perfume business entities and others by allegedly claiming bogus input tax credit.
Akhilesh alleged, “Ever since the BJP feared defeat, leaders started coming from Delhi and their allies — Enforcement Directorate (ED), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Income Tax (IT) started coming. We tied up with small parties and they (BJP) tied up with investigating agencies like CBI, ED and IT.”
Incidentally Pampi Jain was raided on Friday when Akhilesh was in Kannauj to address a press conference.
Meanwhile, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman rejected his allegations.
“The person caught red-handed must be his partner or friend that’s why the former Chief Minister is shaken,” she said.
Sitharaman countered the SP Chief, saying the cash recovered from Piyush Jain’s house was not “BJP money”, and that the raid was at the correct address and not the outcome of mistaken identity. She added that the raids, which were based on actionable intelligence and the recovery, vindicated the action.