Wednesday, January 19, 2011

360cr found in raids on IAS couple

Owns 25 Flats, Over 10Kg Gold, 400 Acres Of Land Besides Other Investments
Bhopal: In ‘bimaru’ Madhya Pradesh, bank lockers of bureaucrats and government officials are bursting with cash and gold. An IAS couple here owns 25 flats and 400 acres of land besides other investments. A middle-ranking engineer’s wife owns three houses and has more than ten kg gold in her bank locker. And wherever the income tax department conducts a raid, so much cash is unearthed that counting machines have to be brought in.

This week, the IT department submitted two appraisal reports to the Lokayukta and the state government on earlier raids. One report claimed that search operations conducted on February 4, 2010 on the premises of an IAS couple, Arvind and Tinoo Joshi, revealed wealth to the tune of Rs 360 crore. Income tax sleuths found it hard to count the cash and foreign currency found at the official residence of the IAS couple. Machines counted Rs 3 crore in cash and Rs 7 lakh in foreign currency. Gold worth Rs 67 lakh kept in a suitcase was also seized.

Incriminating documents from their possession revealed that the 1979 Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS couple had purchased six flats and seven plots in Bhopal, 18 apartments in Guwahati and one in New Delhi. The couple had heavily invested in a fertiliser manufacturing company, a distillery, in hotels and resorts business and insurance.

The family paid a life insurance premium of Rs 3.5 crore, speculative trading for 274 crore and bought stock specific shares for Rs 3 crore. Following the income tax raids, the state government suspended the couple. At the time of suspension Arvind Joshi was principal secretary (jail) and his wife Tinoo, the principal secretary for women and child welfare.

If the Joshis were accumulating wealth, then a subordinate PWD engineer was not sitting inactive either. This Monday morning, the income tax department opened two lockers belonging to the wife of an engineer working for the state public works department (PWD) and found 7.8 kg of gold mostly in bars and Rs 1.6 crore in cash. One year ago, executive engineer Ashok Kumar Jain posted in Narsinghpur district, drew a salary of less than Rs 20,000 per month. A third locker belonging to Jain’s wife Meena detected another 3 kg gold in biscuits and Rs 16 lakh in cash.

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