The empire that started with potatoeshttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/the-empire-that-started-with-potatoes/

The empire that started with potatoes

What Kripashankar owns,as per court complaint against him

A bungalow and a triplex flat in Bandra and properties in Mumbai’s most upscale localities are the landmarks along Kripashankar Singh’s rags-to-riches journey from an onion and potato seller to a politician.

The Bombay High Court has directed the Commissioner of Police to probe the family’s assets; Kripashankar has stepped down as Mumbai Congress chief. Activist Sanjay Tiwari,who filed the PIL,has listed 15 properties,having got the information under the RTI Act.

“…It can at once be seen that a large extent of real estate is purchased by Respondent No. 9 (Kripashankar) and his family members only after Respondent No. 9 was embedded as a politician,” the court observed. Only two of these properties were bought before 2004:

Flats in Powai

Both in the same building,Kingston B,the only two properties the family acquired before 2004. One,on the fourth floor,was allotted under the CM’s quota,bought on August 6,1999,and is the only property in Kripashankar’s name. The other,on 10th floor,was bought in the name of his daughter Sunita and son-in-law between 1995 and 1999. Singh was MoS for home,food and drugs in 1999-04.

The son

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Kripashankar’s son Narendra,a pilot with Jet Airways,owns immovable properties whose total value,the court said,would be at least Rs 9 crore. “We wonder whether he paid even the society charges of these properties from his salary income,” Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi said in their order. Kumar claims to be earning of Rs 1 lakh a month. Here is what he is said to own:

Duplex in Vile-Parle: 1355 sq ft,with 550 sq ft terrace,in Jupiter Building,Vile-Parle (E),bought on February 15,2006.

Tarang Bungalow: 433 sq m,on Carter Road,Bandra,bought on June 8,2006.

Bandra triplex: On Bandra’s Mount Mary Road,bought on August 13,2007.

Office spaces: 22,500 sq ft in HDIL Building,12,000 sq ft in Wadhwa Building on Bandra-Kurla Complex,priciest commercial space in Mumbai. Date of purchase not clear.

Bandra Danda plot: 959 sq yd; land a part of Santacruz Town Planning Scheme.

Panvel shop premises: 1,100 sq ft,bought on September 3,2004.

The daughter

Ratnagiri plot: 250 acres in Wadapeth,owned by Sunita and her husband,date of purchase not clear.

Bandra flat: 2,000 sq ft in Affaire Building,Turner Road,owned by Sunita,and bought on November 6,2007.

Kurla flat: In Abmrosia Building at Hiranandani Gardens,in the name of Sunita’s husband.

Powai shop premises: Two of 930 sq ft in Galeria Shopping Complex,bought on December 10,2004,owned by Sunita.

Beyond Mumbai

UP commercial complex: 8,000 sq ft in Jaunpur,owned by Kripashankar’s wife Maltidevi,bought on January 29,2008.

The Explanation

On March 30,2011,the Director-General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau had filed a report that their investigation had found that huge property and assets acquired by the Singh family were illegitimate. After the Singhs filed an “explanation” on how the ownership of this wealth,the ACB submitted another report in July 2011,stating the assets were in excess of the family’s income by 11.69 per cent. The court rejected the second report.

In the explanation,Kripashankar said his “salaries” were Rs 24 lakh,air-travel expenses Rs 14 lakh,and rent received on one of his flats Rs 12 lakh; a car sale had fetched him Rs 8 lakh; he had got Rs 5 lakh from his son; Rs 12 lakh was acquired from a partnership firm as goodwill.

The court said no inquiry was made into the expenditures shown in corresponding entries about the same flat,same car,flight and vehicle expenses,nor was any documentary evidence produced in support of the claims.

“Respondent No 9,who rose from nothing,amassed enough to have gold jewellery,residential flat,bank accounts,car and income from his partnership as well as residential premises,” the court said.

“There are wondrous bank entries which are not explained in the report with sufficient documentary evidence. It is questionable why Respondent No. 9 would give several lakhs to his son and take several lakhs from him and how he would purchase and sell the same car showing profit and/or loss,the documentary evidence relating to the purchase and sale being absent.”

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(With inputs by Kavitha Iyer)
TOMORROW: THE ZERO BALANCE FAMILY