Mayawati said she would hold a press conference at 12 pm in Lucknow, answer the charges made by the Enforcement Directorate. Photograph:( AFP )
By Dipu Rai
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati came under Enforcement Directorate (ED) scanner on Friday, as the agency detected cash deposits totalling over Rs 104 crore in an account belonging to the party and Rs 1.43 crore in an account belonging to Anand Kumar, Mayawati's brother, on Friday.
ED sources said that the accounts had been detected in a branch of the United Bank of India (UBI) in the capital.
Officials said they visited the Karol Bagh branch of the bank as part of their routine survey and enquiry operations to check huge cash deposits, and found that large deposits were made in these two accounts after demonetisation.
The agency found that while Rs 102 crore had been deposited in Rs 1,000 notes, the remaining Rs 3 crore had been deposited in old Rs 500 notes. Officials said that about Rs 15-17 crore were being deposited into these accounts every other day. In Anand's account, ED officials found old notes worth Rs 18.98 lakh.
The ED has sought details about the accounts from the bank. It has been understood that the agency will write to the Income-Tax (I-T) department. The ED has also asked the bank to provide it some CCTV footage and the KYC documents used to open the accounts.
This is not the first time that the BSP's supremo's brother has come under the radar of probe agencies. In April 2015, the Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) started investigating Kumar for alleged dubious transactions, running into crores. The FIU had coordinated with the CBDT and I-T department for a further probe.
Currently, the agency has been carrying out enquiry operations at over 50 bank branches to check possible instances of hawala dealings and money- laundering after the demonetisation drive.
BSP spokespersons and senior leaders refused to comment. Interestingly, the party's arch rivals, the Samajwadi Party (SP), came to their defence on this issue. A senior SP leader said: "This was not an amount which was found stashed away in homes or lockers. This was an amount deposited in the bank after demonetization. It should not be made a political issue."
(This article first appeared in DNA)