The Income Tax (I-T) department has strengthened its case against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh as its probe has unearthed Rs 5.41 crore unaccounted cash transactions for a farmhouse bought by his children.
While the CBI is yet to make any headway in the alleged disproportionate assets case against Singh, the I-T investigation has connected the transactions for the farmhouse with Vakamulla Chandrasekhar. Earlier this year, BJP leader Arun Jaitley had accused Virbhadra of granting an extension to Venture Energy and Technology, promoted by Chandrasekhar, for executing a hydel project in the state in 2012 as quid pro quo for a Rs 1.5 crore-loan to Singh’s wife Pratibha and a Rs 2.4 crore-loan to Virbhadra.
The Indian Express has reviewed I-T documents, including the statement of seller of the 1.8 acre farmhouse in Delhi, which bought by Maple Destinations and Dreambuild Pvt Ltd, owned by Virbhadra’s son Vikramaditya and daughter Aprajita Kumari. The purchase of the farmhouse was first reported by this newspaper on January 3. Vikramaditya and Aprajita own 95 per cent and 5 per cent of Maple respectively.
Vikramaditya was the signatory in the sales deed of the farmhouse, while Chandrasekhar was a witness. I-T investigation into the purchase of the farmhouse by Maple led to the impounding of the documents from the original seller, one Picheshwar Gadde.
In its statement to the I-T department, Gadde said that “the farmhouse was sold in FY [financial year] 2011 to M/s Maple Destination Dreambuild Pvt Ltd for an amount of Rs 6.61 crore”. However, the registration deed and Maple’s records show that the farmhouse was bought for Rs 1.2 crore.
Further, in his statement, Gadde said that Rs 5.41 crore was paid in cash. “I accept my mistake that I have not paid taxes on the total amount of these properties,” he said.
The I-T department also took the statement of Gadde’s accountant Rakesh Sejwal, who said that an employee of Chandrasekhar, Pathak, gave Rs 5.41 crore to him.
“This amount was delivered by Mr Pathak to me in 10 to 15 installments in cash at various locations in Delhi, mostly his office in East of Kailash. To the best of my knowledge, Mr Pathak…was an employee of one Mr V Chandrasekhar. Mr V Chandrasekhar had made the payment for the deal with Maple as mentioned…through his employee Mr Pathak”.
Gadde, too, said cash was paid “through Chandrasekhar or his P A Pathak on behalf of Maple Destination Dreambuild Pvt Ltd. Rakesh Sejwal…used to collect cheque/cash. Almost 95 per cent of the amount was delivered to me before the date of signing the registry”.
On Wednesday, hearing a PIL filed by AAP leader and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan, the Delhi High Court had asked both the CBI and the I-T department to file all the records from the investigation before it. The CBI maintained that it has not found evidence to proceed against Singh.
When contacted continued…