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Friday, August 19, 2022

P Jain and P Jain: Tale of 2 perfume merchants raises some stink in UP

SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said the “wrong Jain” was raided by Central authorities, one who has links to the BJP. The SP's Jain, he said, is Pushpraj “Pampi” Jain, an MLC whose latest perfume he had launched last month

About Rs 17 crore in cash and 23 kg of gold has been recovered from Jain's Kannauj residence, adding that further counting was underway. (PTI)

They have the same first initial, P; the same surname, Jain. They hail from the same neighbourhood Jain street in UP’s Kannauj. They are in the same trade, perfumes. And in a bitterly contested election campaign, both are raising a stink.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointed to the raids by GST authorities on properties allegedly linked to Peeyush Jain that unearthed over Rs 194 crore in cash and accused the Samajwadi Party of sprinkling the “perfume of corruption” all over UP during their stint in power.


SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said the “wrong Jain” was raided by Central authorities, one who has links to the BJP. The SP’s Jain, he said, is Pushpraj “Pampi” Jain, an MLC whose latest perfume he had launched last month, calling it the “Samajwadi ittra”.

At the heart of it all are two men bound by common roots but with differing stories.

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Peeyush Jain, sources said, is a low-profile businessman who maintains a subdued lifestyle —he is said to still drive a scooter at times. On Monday, a Kanpur court sent the 50-year-old, who is now based in the city, to 14 days’ judicial custody in connection with a tax evasion case. Images of stashes of cash seized from him went viral.

The 60-year-old Pushpraj Jain, on the other hand, is called a “philanthropist” in Kannauj and a politician who also owns a petrol pump and a cold storage unit, earns agricultural income, and has a house and an office in Mumbai.

Addressing a public meeting after inaugurating the Kanpur Metro Rail project, Prime Minister Modi referred to the raids on Peeyush Jain and said: “The perfume of corruption they (SP) had sprinkled all over UP before 2017 is there for everyone to see. But now, they are keeping their mouths shut and not coming forward to take credit. The mountain of notes that the entire nation has seen, that is their achievement and reality.”

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In Unnao, SP chief Akhilesh claimed that the real target of the BJP-led NDA Government was Pushpraj Jain. Asked about the allegation by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath that the money recovered in the raids was associated with the SP and a businessman who made perfume for the party, he said: “There isn’t a bigger lie than this.”

Akhilesh said: “It was our MLC Pushpraj Jain who made the perfume for us. They advertised through the media that the person raided belongs to SP. By afternoon, the journalists who were aware understood that the person raided had nothing to do with the SP. Then, they also changed their statements. In the morning, the headlines were that ‘SP businessman of ittra raided’. You should think that the raid was done at the wrong place, against their own person. You should get out his call details and you will find BJP people’s names.”

Referring to the stash of cash, he said: “They wanted to raid Pushpraj Jain, but by mistake raided Peeyush Jain. It seemed like a mistake of Digital India.”

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According to GST authorities, unaccounted cash of over Rs 194 crore and 23 kg of gold were recovered in the search operation at properties allegedly linked to Peeyush Jain in Kanpur and Kannauj. The raid and the cash photos have left local residents near Peeyush’s family home in Kannauj bemused.

According to them, Peeyush and his younger brother Ambreesh used to run the family business from the home of their parents on Jain street. “Around two decades ago, Peeyush shifted to Kanpur along with his family, including two sons and opened a new perfume business from his residence. A few years later, Ambreesh also shifted to Kanpur with his family,” said a person who knows the family but does not wish to be identified.

“We know Peeyush Jain and his family. No one in the family had ever contested any political election, we have no idea from where they got such a huge amount,” said Pawan Trivedi, president of the Kannauj perfume association.

“Even after shifting to Kanpur, Peeyush and Ambreesh did not close their business in Kannauj. They used to regularly visit their family home there. We came to know that Peeyush also started a new business in Kanpur, of supplying raw material to paan masala manufacturers,” Trivedi said.

While Peeyush’s family has not made any comment after the raids, police in Kanpur and Kannauj have denied any knowledge of the activities of the businessman. “I was asked to appear in court and represent him. I don’t know any personal details,” said Peeyush’s lawyer Sudhir Malviya.

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Pushpraj Jain was elected as MLC from Etawah-Farrukhabad in 2016, and co-owns Pragati Aroma Oil Distillers Pvt Ltd, expanding the business started by his father Savailal Jain in 1950. Pushpraj and his three brothers run the business and share a house in Kannauj.

The MLC owns a house in Mumbai and an office there that deals with exports to about 12 countries mainly in the Middle East. Of his three brothers, two work at the Mumbai office while the third works with him on the manufacturing set-up in Kannauj.

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According to his election affidavit in 2016, Pushpraj and his family own movable assets worth Rs 37.15 crore and immovable assets worth Rs 10.10 crore. He has no criminal record and has studied till Class 12 at Swarup Narayan Intermediate College in Kannauj.

On Tuesday, he said that he joined politics after Akhilesh became an MP from Kannauj in 2000 and “showed vision for the district and realised the potential” of its perfume industry. A local SP leader said Pushpraj “organises frequent camps for the poor and helps them get free medical treatment”. “He was given an MLC slot because of his work for the party,” the leader said.

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Speaking to The Indian Express on Friday after the raids began, Pushpraj had said: “I have nothing to do with Peeyush Jain. The only common thing is that Peeyush Jain is from the same community as me. If a raid has been done against him, he will deal with it himself.”

(With Lalmani Verma)

First published on: 29-12-2021 at 04:00:03 am
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