“We are all surprised with the recovery made from Peeyush Jain’s house. We are sure that all the recovered money does not belong to him,” said Sudhir Jain, a perfume trader in Kannauj where GST authorities have been conducting searches at the properties of Peeyush Jain for the last few days.
“I am also a perfume trader and have been involved in this business for a very long time. I know that no one could save such a huge amount of money,” Sudhir added.
On the streets of Kannauj, a hub of perfume (ittar) makers, the conversation for the last few days has been about Peeyush Jain and the flying political charges between the ruling BJP and the Opposition Samajwadi Party in the election season.
Since the images of piles of currency notes found during the raids at Peeyush Jain’s Kanpur properties went viral – the GST authorities have told the court that over Rs 177 crore was recovered from the trader’s Kanpur home – BJP and SP have been accusing each other of being close to the jailed perfume trader.
BJP leaders claim that Peeyush has close ties with Samajwadi Party leader and MLC Pushpraj Jain “Pampi”, while Samajwadi Party leaders claim that Peeyush’s family are supporters of BJP and his younger brother Ambreesh is often seen with local BJP leaders.
Both the Samajwadi Party and BJP, however, deny having any association with the trader who is currently in jail for tax evasion.
Peeyush Jain’s fellow traders, too, are surprised over the large cash recovery as according to them he was not that big perfume dealer with such a huge turnover.
Traders associated with the perfume business in Kannauj say they have never seen Peeyush Jain attending any political event either. His neighbours denied any kind of association between him and Pushpraj as well.
The residence of Pushpraj is only 200 metres from Peeyush’s ancestral house on Jain Street.
“We don’t know what political parties are saying about Peeyush Jain, but this is a fact that he is not a relative of Pushpraj. I have never seen Peeyush and Pushpraj visiting each others’ homes. They are not seen in the social function of each other,” said Vikas Saxena, a local resident who runs a general store on Jain Street.
“I have also not seen him (Peeyush Jain) of attending parties thrown by Pushpraj Jain. We never saw Peeyush in any political rallies in Kannauj. Also, we didn’t see any political leaders visiting his Kannauj home,” said Vikas.
“Allegations that Peeyush has political connections is false. He is a simple and down-to-earth person. He used to move around on a scooter. We all are surprised with the recovery of such a large amount of cash,” added Vikas.
Around 20 Jain families live on the street where Peeyush Jain’s residence is located. But following the raids, most of them have refused to speak about him.
According to the residents, Peeyush Jain and his younger brother Ambreesh Jain shifted to Kanpur from Kannauj around two decades ago. Kanpur is around 80 kilometres from Kannauj. Besides the perfume business, Peeyush also started a business of supplying raw materials to tobacco manufactures in Kanpur.
“After he moved out, Peeyush did not wrap up his business in Kannauj. He used to visit here regularly to look after his parental business of perfume. It could be possible that Peeyush and Pushpraj have done business with each other at one point in time, but there is no close relationship between them,” said Peeyush’s relative Vikas Jain, who also deals in the perfume business.
Besides the perfume business, Pushpraj also runs a cold storage and a petrol pump.
The local perfume traders are also not convinced that that the money recovered from Peeyush Jain’s properties belongs to him. “The picture will be clear only after they investigate the recovered money,” said local perfume trader Sudhir Jain.
According to the local traders, Pushpraj has a big turnover vis-a-vis Peeyush Jain.
When contacted, Pushpraj Jain “Pampi” also refused to have any kind of relationship with Peeyush Jain. “I know Peeyush Jain because his house is located close to my residence. I met him several times but we don’t have any kind of relationship,” Pushpraj Jain told The Indian Express, adding the recovered money could be the savings made by Peeyush Jain.