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ED seizes property details from ex UP Mining Minister

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New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) claims to have seized incriminating documents including computers and electronic records relating to transactions of immovable properties allegedly acquired by former Minister of Mining of Uttar Pradesh, Gayatri Prasad Prajapati , his family and associated companies.

On Wednesday, ED had carried searches at seven locations including Prajapati’s residence in Lucknow and Amethi, company offices in Lucknow, residence of a chartered accountant in Kanpur and houses of two benami holders of Gayatri Prajapati in Lucknow and Amethi.

ED, in a press release on Thursday, said that during the search more than 100 registries of different properties spread across Lucknow, Kanpur, Amethi, Sitapur, etc. were unearthed. “In addition, allotment letters of four villas in Mumbai, valued at Rs 2.5 crores each, belonging to family members of the Former Minister were also seized”.

In addition, 23 properties ranging between 3 to 36 lakhs, in the name of a single benami, whose residence has also been searched, have also been revealed during the search, ED has claimed.

ED had launched a probe against Prajapati and others on the basis of an FIR registered by CBI into alleged irregularities in the renewal of sand mining leases in Dist. Fatehpur, UP between 2012 and 2016 wherein it is alleged that Gayatri Prasad Prajapati, in collusion with other government officials and private persons, had got the mining leases renewed without following proper process of e-tendering and thereby aiding and abetting illegal mining in the district.

The agency said that its probe has revealed that the cash deposits in the bank accounts of Gayatri Prasad Prajapati family members and companies were found to be non-commensurate with their income tax filings.

“It was revealed that during the period, the accused remained Minister in the UP Govt., his company rose exponentially in net worth which he could not explain satisfactorily during his examination. Investigation also revealed that his family members had paid substantial tax on undisclosed income under the Income Declaration Scheme, 2016”, ED said.

The agency has further stated that during its probe it was revealed that the UP Vigilance had also registered a disproportionate assets case against Prajapati on November 26.

“Discreet inquiries conducted by ED against the benami holders revealed that they were daily wage earners from humble backgrounds incapable of owning/ acquiring the properties revealed and confirmed during investigation. It was further revealed that after the arrest of Gayatri Prajapati in March, 2017 in a rape case, his sons have clandestinely sold off some of the properties for personal gains and influencing key witnesses in the trial case against Gayatri Prajapati”, the agency said.

In addition to property related documents, demonetized currency of Rs 11.50 lakhs, new currency of Rs 1.42 lakhs and stamp papers worth Rs 5 lakhs have been recovered and seized.

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