Pankaj Lodhiya, 44, the Rajkot-based bullion trader whose name figured in the Centre’s black money affidavit, has his office, Shreeji Trading Company, on Bhupendra Road in the city. The office was shut on Monday — Diwali festivities end only on Labh Pancham, which is on Tuesday.
Lodhiya expressed shock at his name appearing in the affidavit: “I am shocked to hear this. I don’t have any account in Swiss banks. Everything is in the (account) books. I will reply to queries by the prosecution. I was among those who congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he took up the campaign against black money, and I am sure that I will come out clean on this. If any account is found, I am ready to surrender whatever money is deposited to the Government of India.”
His father, Chamanlal Lodhiya, is close to local BJP leaders. According to information made public by the Association for Democratic Reforms on Monday, the BJP’s donations report for 2011-12 lists Rs 51,000 from the elder Lodhiya.
Pankaj Lodhiya, who did not complete his commerce degree, entered the bullion trading industry around 15 years ago, and is now the chief supplier of gold to Rajkot’s huge jewelley industry.
Shreeji Group has interests in diamond, gold and silver jewellery, as well as realty. It has branches in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Jaipur, Raipur, Indore and Bangalore. According to the group website, the company is associated with London Bullion Market Association, an international association. Shreeji Ornaments Pvt Ltd, another group company, markets jewellery under the brand Tatva.
The I-T department had raided Lodhiya’s home around a year and a half ago, but not many details about the operation were reported.