Income Tax department has seized a veritable treasure belonging to Arvind Kejriwal’s trusted aide and a powerful minister in the Delhi government Satyendra Jain under the anti-benami law in what is seen as major blow to the AAP boss’ “clean image”.
The tax department has seized 123 bighas of land in Delhi and Rs 16 crore worth shares in various Kolkata companies allegedly belonging to Jain. The action followed its investigations into the operations of Kolkata-based entry operators allegedly involved in money laundering by floating shell companies.
It was during the raid on one of the entry operators – Jivendra Mishra – that Satyendra Jain came under the scanner of tax authorities. The AAP leader allegedly had links with Mishra, Rajendra Bansal and Abhishek Chokhani, who were linked to 50-60 companies through which funds were routed. The raids threw up documents showing that Jain, his wife and parents owned companies with assets that the minister had not declared.
When summoned by the IT department, Jain denied that there was any irregularity. In response to media queries he insisted that he had been summoned as a witness in a probe and was not facing an enquiry. Surprisingly, his party jumped to his defense and said that the IT department’s curiosity about his investments and undeclared assets were part of witch-hunt by the Modi government.
The tax department has also noticed an intriguing pattern in the investments made by the firms controlled by the Jains. Many of their land purchases happened to be in and around the irregular colonies that AAP is pressing the DDA to regularize.
Jain is easily the third most powerful person in the Delhi government after Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia. In fact, with control of powerful portfolios like health and PWD, he seemed to rival Sisodia’s prominence at one point in time.
However, he is not a stranger to controversies. He attracted widespread condemnation and heaped embarrassment upon himself by getting his daughter appointed as head of the AAP government’s Mohalla clinic project and got the Delhi government to pay for her trip to the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad for a course, which was meant only for medical superintendents. He is known for “rough and brusque” ways and has earned a reputation.