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Nirmala Sitharaman denies Bjp’s connection to fragrance maker Kannauj, says tax raids are based on actionable intelligence

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday law enforcement agencies were acting on actionable intelligence by carrying out tax raids and denied that the Rs 200 crore money recovered from of fragrance maker Peeyush Jain was not BJP money.

This comes after the income tax department raided several premises linked to perfume traders, including SP MLC Pushpraj Jain who launched “Samajwadi ittra” or perfume last month in Kannauj.

“This is not BJP money,” she said when asked about the opposition charge that the Rs 197.49 crore recovered from perfumer Peeyush Jain in UP’s Kannauj was his party’s money and the tax authorities had mistakenly searched the person and are now searching the other Jain they originally wanted to target.

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Speaking to reporters after the GST Council meeting, Sitharaman said former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav was “shaken” by the raids as she sought to defend the action. “How do you know who owns the money? Are you her partner? Because only the partners know who the money is being kept,” she said.

Dismissing the opposition’s accusation that the raids were politically motivated, she asked if the raids came empty-handed: “The recovery of the money shows that there was actionable intelligence. The raids that took place on Friday were also based on such contributions.

In multiple raids by the Income Tax Department and the Central Indirect Tax and Customs Council on perfume trader Peeyush Jain, around 257 crore rupees in cash, 25 kg of gold and 250 kg of silver were seized from his house in Kanpur as well as his house and factory in Kannauj. The Union’s finance ministry said on Monday it was the “largest cash seizure ever” by a law enforcement agency.

BJP leaders have sought to link the perfume trader with the SP, claiming that it recently launched “Samajwadi Attar (perfume)” with Yadav’s backing. However, Samajwadi party chairman Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday flatly denied any connection between his party and Peeyush Jain, and said mockingly that the BJP raided “its own businessman” “by mistake.”

He also claimed that “Samajwadi Attar” was launched by SP MLC Pushpraj Jain. “The BJP searched its own businessman. Instead of SP leader Pushpraj Jain, they searched Peeyush Jain,” Yadav told reporters in Unnao.

(Edited by : Jomy Jos Pullokaran)