Surat-based financier Kishore Bhajiawala, from whom the income tax (I-T) department recovered Rs 10.45 crore in unaccounted for income, used dummy bank accounts to launder black money. Bhajiawala also held property worth Rs 400 crore. He had used around 700 persons for depositing and withdrawing money after demonetisation , CBI sources said.
Sources in the I-T department said that Bhajiawala had 27 bank accounts+ of which around 20 were benami accounts through which he laundered a large chunk of money. However, it has not yet been ascertained how much money he has deposited and withdrawn.
The I-T department has seized from him Rs 1,45,50,800 (all in new currency notes), gold worth Rs 1,48,88,133, gold jewellery worth Rs 4,92,96,314, diamond jewellery worth Rs 1,39,34,580, and silver ingots worth Rs 77,81,800. Sensing the involvement of banks and bigwigs, the case was handed over to the CBI.
Sources in the CBI said that Bhajiawala, through his proxies, had deposited Rs 1 lakh, Rs 2 lakh, and Rs 4 lakh on November 12, 13, and 14, respectively in different bank accounts. As many as 212 persons were used to convert old currency into new. The agency has also found that Surat People’s Cooperative Bank’s senior manager Pankaj Bhatt was involved in some of the transactions. Besides, an investigation is under way regarding the seizure of Rs 1.45 crore in new currency notes. The agency officials are trying to trace other bank accounts through which black money was laundered.
“It is not possible to get such a large number of new currency notes without the involvement of bankers,” a source said. “So we have been probing the roles of various banks.” Bhajiawala, whose net worth is around Rs 1,300 crore, owns several rowhouses, commercial properties, flats and plots in the city. Sources in the I-T department said that he used to get property documents from debtors and wouldtransfer the title to his name after default in repayment.