Probe Agency Files Chargesheet Against Ex-UP Minister Gayatri Prajapati In Money Laundering Case


Probe Agency Files Chargesheet Against Ex-UP Minister In Money Laundering Case

The agency had raided a number premises linked to Prajapati in Lucknow last year. (File)

New Delhi/Lucknow:

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed its first chargesheet against former Uttar Pradesh minister Gayatri Prajapati on Thursday even as it attached 60 assets and over 50 bank accounts of his and his family members worth over Rs 55 crore, officials said.

The central agency is probing the former legislator, who held the mining portfolio in the Samajwadi Party government led by Akhilesh Yadav, on money laundering charges in a case linked to alleged possession of disproportionate assets.

“A total of 57 bank accounts with a total balance of Rs 3.5 crore and 60 immovable properties worth Rs 33.45 crore have been provisionally attached. The total market value of such properties as on date is over Rs 55 crore,” the Lucknow zonal office of the ED said.

It also filed a prosecution complaint or chargesheet against Prajapati and others before a special PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) court in Lucknow on charges of amassing a huge number of properties in the names of his family members, benamis and companies controlled through his sons and dummy directors.

Joint Director of the ED (Lucknow zone) Rajeshwar Singh said further investigation in the case is in progress and attachment of some more benami properties located in Mumbai, Lucknow and other places will be done and further prosecution complaints filed against other accused.

Prajapati was booked earlier this year by the ED in the money-laundering case after analysing a vigilance FIR lodged against him by the Uttar Pradesh police on charges of possessing disproportionate assets. He was already being probed by the central agency in a case of illegal mining.

The agency claimed that “Prajapati’s total income when he was a minister (from 2013 to 2017) was only Rs 72.38 lakh, including his salary of around Rs 25.4 lakh”.

“He had shown a substantial rental income but most of it was found to be bogus and only to inflate his income,” it said.

The agency alleged that the assets “standing in the name of the family members of Prajapati, the benami holders and various companies wherein his sons are/were directors were found to be worth over Rs 36.94 crore (approx.), which is several times over and above their total purchasing capacity”.

Prajapati is also accused of raping a woman and attempting to molest her minor daughter, along with others.

He was arrested and sent to jail on March 15, 2017 and has been in judicial custody since then. He was arrested by the ED too.

The agency had raided a number premises linked to Prajapati and his family members in Lucknow, Kanpur and Amethi in December last year.

It had then said it had seized Rs 1.42 lakh in cash, demonetised currency of Rs 11.50 lakh, stamp papers worth Rs five lakh, property-related documents and computers.

It had claimed that “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 (Prajapati) remained as a minister in the Uttar Pradesh government, his company rose exponentially in net worth, which he could not explain satisfactorily during his examination,” the ED had said.

The agency had said both sons and the daughter-in-law of Prajapati had “filed a substantial undisclosed income to the tune of Rs 15.23 crore under the IDS-2016 and paid taxes of around Rs 6.85 crore”.

The Income Declaration Scheme (IDS) was a black money-declaration window launched by the Union government in 2016.

“However, Prajapati feigned ignorance about any such undisclosed income,” the agency said.

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