The Income-Tax Department on Thursday conducted searches at the Patna residence of social activist Rekha Modi, the estranged cousin of Bihar Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, and a jewellery shop from where Rekha reportedly purchased gold and diamond jewellery.
The jewellery was allegedly meant to be gifted to wives of some bureaucrats on the instruction of Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti, a Bhagalpur-based NGO that allegedly siphoned off about Rs 1,800 crore from Bhagalpur district bank accounts in connivance with government officials and bankers.
Before the Srijan case was transferred to the CBI, a special investigation team of Bihar Police had found evidence of transaction between the bank accounts of Srijan and Rekha and her daughter. It was suspected that Rekha, also a jewellery designer, was used as a conduit by Srijan to gift gold and diamond jewellery to bureaucrats and other influential people.
Rekha and the Patna jeweller are not named in the case.
On Thursday, the I-T Department conducted searches at 12 locations in Bhagalpur, two in Patna and one in Purnea. The searches were conducted at the homes, offices and business establishments of the accused, including former BJP leader Bipin Sharma, former RLSP leader Deepak Verma, chartered accountant P K Ghosh, businessman Kishore Ghosh, and GTM Mall — in which some alleged beneficiaries of the scam had purchased shops. The mall is reportedly owned by a BJP leader from Bhagalpur.
I-T sleuths conducted a search at Rekha’s Saraswati Apartment residence at S P Verma Road here, and sought transaction details from Jalan Gems and Jewellery shop. Sources said they seized some documents, including property papers from Rekha’s residence.
SIT records had revealed diamonds worth Rs 14 crore were purchased from Patna, Lucknow and New Delhi jewellers through Srijan’s accounts. Patna’s Jalan Gems and Jewellery store was paid Rs 7 crore from Srijan accounts. Bank statements showed Rs 49 lakh was paid to the jeweller on March 3, 2015, Rs 25 lakh on March 6 and Rs 40 lakh on March 9 that year.
Bank statements of Bhagalpur’s Indian Bank (Patal Babu Road branch) showed payment of over Rs 1.5 crore by Srijan to Rekha and her daughter between 2014 and 2016 through more than a dozen transactions. Rekha, who had unsuccessfully contested the 2010 state polls as an independent candidate, fell out with her cousin Sushil Modi after 2005. Sushil Modi has clarified several times that he has nothing to do with her.