Friday, March 19, 2010

[ZESTCaste] Mayawati garland worth Rs 5 crore, say I-T sleuths

Mayawati garland worth Rs 5 crore, say I-T sleuths
Pradeep Thakur, TNN, Mar 19, 2010, 02.05am IST

NEW DELHI: Mayawati may have set her cops on a bee chase but the
income tax department is sniffing up the curious case of the currency
garland. While the BSP claims the garland of Rs 1,000 notes gifted to
the Uttar Pradesh chief minister during the party's 25th founding day
celebrations was worth Rs 21 lakh, taxmen say the value could run to
Rs 5 crore.

Here's how. Preliminary investigations by the I-T sleuths reveal the
garland weighed 65kg, all in Rs 1,000 notes. A wad of one hundred Rs
1,000 notes weighs around 120g. Taking out the weight of the thread in
the garland, sleuths say the net mass of the currency "mala" would not
be anything less than 60 kg. With inputs gathered from RBI, officials
say it would take at least 500 bundles of Rs 1,000 denomination to
make the garland.

Sources said I-T sleuths gathered information from BSP insiders on the
composition of the garland while a team has been working with banks
and other sources to track the money transaction and "sponsors" who,
according to the party, "gifted" the notes.

Since all the notes used in the garland are believed to be new, said
an I-T officer, it somehow belies the Dalit party's claim that its
poor/rich followers contributed to the making of the mala. Once the
I-T officials take a close look at the garland, pinpointing the source
of the sponsors would be easier, said sources.

The I-T department may soon ask the Dalit party to declare the source
of the funds used in the massive celebrations organized in Lucknow on
March 15. In any case, the BSP would have to file all relevant details
on expenditure in their I-T return for the assessment year 2010-11
which is to be completed between April and September of this year.

This is not the first time the Dalit Czarina has courted controversy
on the scale of offerings made to her. A few years ago when the CBI
had registered a disproportionate assets (DA) case against her after
seizing a number of bank accounts carrying several crores of rupees in
deposits, the BSP chief had then claimed that they came through
"donations" by party supporters.

Both CBI and I-T department had in their investigation in the DA case
unearthed 72 immovable properties and more than 300 donations valued
at Rs 13 crore in the name of Mayawati and her family members. The CBI
had frozen more than 50 bank accounts with more than Rs 7 crore in

The latest display of wealth by Mayawati caused a furore in
Parliament, with Congress joining ranks with Opposition parties in
condemning the way the Dalit party had indulged in extravagance over
her mentor's birth anniversary and in celebration of her party's
founding day.

In a similar case a few years ago, the I-T department, during their
assessment of I-T returns of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, had sought details
of expenses made by him in his daughter's marriage and the reception
at a five-star hotel in the Capital. Huge cash payments made for that
reception, it is believed, led the tax officials to question the hotel
managers as to why PAN and other details were not sought at the time
of clearing of the bills.

Why is RBI not taking any actions against Mayavati for misusing currency notes?

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