The Directorate General of GST Intelligence on Thursday refuted rumours about its proposed handling of the Rs 197.49 crore cash and 23 kg of gold (worth an estimated Rs 11 crore) recovered last week during tax raids on Uttar Pradesh businessman Piyush Jain.
The DGGI said reports it plans to treat the seized cash and assets as the turnovers of Mr Jain’s perfumery compounds manufacturing unit were “purely speculative, without any basis and seek to undermine the integrity of the ongoing investigations…”
The DGGI also dismissed talk Mr Jain – who has been arrested for tax evasion and whose seized assets represent the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs’ “biggest every recovery” – would simply pay Rs 52 crore as “tax dues” and potentially walk away.
“… reports have appeared in certain sections of the media that DGGI has decided to treat the cash recovered as the turnover of the manufacturing unit and proposes to proceed accordingly. Some even stated that after admitting his liability, Piyush Jain has, with the approval of DGGI, deposited a total amount of Rs 52 crore as tax dues…” the DGGI statement said.
“These reports are purely speculative, without any basis and seek to undermine the integrity of the ongoing investigations which are being carried out in a most professional manner…”
The DGGI said the recovered cash and assets were currently in the “safe custody of the State Bank of India pending further investigation”, which would include a full calculation of Mr Jain’s tax liabilities.
Mr Jain’s lawyer, Sudhir Malviya, told news agency ANI his client’s estimated liability is Rs 32.5 crore, although he also said “they say that amount could increase in the future.
The clarification comes amid furious speculation and political drama over the raids on Mr Jain’s perfume compounds factory in UP’s Kannauj and his home in Kanpur.
Yesterday sources in the GST unit told NDTV the investigation into Mr Jain was not a case of mistaken identity; it was the result of ” a focused investigation based on specific inputs”.
That was after political parties in UP – which will hold a crucial Assembly election in two months – took pot shots at each other over Mr Jain and the Rs 200 crore.
The ruling BJP has claimed the arrested Piyush Jain is the same person who launched a perfume named after rivals Samajwadi Party, for whom Akhilesh Yadav hit back, pointing out that the other person’s name is Pushpraj Jain.
With an eye on snatching votes away from the two squabbling parties, the Congress also jumped in, with former union minister P Chidambaram tweeting: “I suppose the comedy will not end here.”
Pushpraj Jain told NDTV he has no links with Piyush Jain and that he was “saddened by the low level of politics”.
With input from ANI