In a huge blow to former UP Cabinet Minister and once close confidante of Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, Gayatri Prajapati, the Enforcement Directorate attached several properties and bank accounts of the latter, his family members and their companies to the tune of Rs 36.94 crore.
According to a statement issued by the agency, a total of 57 bank accounts having balances of Rs 3.50 crore and 60 immovable properties worth Rs 33.45 crore have been provisionally attached. The total market value of such properties as on date is over Rs 55 crore. The alleged dummy companies whose properties have been attached include MGA Colonizers Company Pvt. Ltd., MGA Hospitality Services Pvt. Ltd., MSA Infraventure Pvt. Ltd., MGM Agrotech Pvt. Ltd., Kanha Buildwell Pvt. Ltd., Daya Builders Pvt. Ltd., Excel Buildtech Pvt. Ltd. and Lifecure Medical and Research Centre Pvt. Ltd. and Guru Nanak Cold Storage.
The ED has now filed complaint under Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against the former minister for money laundering for amassing many benami properties, and companies in names of his family and dummy directors.
It is being alleged that during UP Vidhan Sabha elections, 2012 and 2017, Gayatri Prajapati had not disclosed his properties and details of his family members and their incomes in the election affidavits submitted before the poll panel. According to agency sources, Prajapati has always been non-cooperating and remained evasive on many questions posed by the ED during the course of investigation. Subsequently, the ED moved an application before the court of District Judge, Lucknow, for custody remand of Prajapati and on 10 February, the court ordered custody for his interrogation till 18.02.2021.
When put to intense questioning, Prajapati could also not explain the source of funds for acquiring the properties in his names and attempted to shift the onus on his CA. His income tax returns were also found to be manipulated and bogus inflations in his income from rental income was noticed by the ED.
The agency is now in the process of attachment of more benami properties of Prajapati in Mumbai, Lucknow and more biggies are likely to be indicted in the coming days.