Missing Gujarat businessman turns up, claims Rs 13,860 crore belongs to politicians
The realtor was snatched away from the studio by security and tax officials and taken to a police station
Mahesh Shah, the business man who had declared a record Rs 13,860 crore under the Centre's income disclosure scheme appeared in a television studio and claimed he had been supporting politicians and top industrialists.
Shah who had been reported as missing, said: "The money I declared belongs to politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen whose names I will reveal to income-tax officials."
He said he declared the income as his own for accepting a commission. "I admit my mistake, which I should not have done," Shah added.
The realtor was snatched away from the studio by security and tax officials and taken to a police station.
Reports suggest that the businessman was close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, and former Gujarat chief minister Suresh Mehta confirmed it hours before Mahesh had surfaced.
BJP dismissed Mehta's claim and said: "The party has nothing to do with him (Mahesh Shah). No one in the party knows him."
Mehta, who later resigned from BJP, said Mahesh used to arrange the auction for gifts Modi received when he was Gujarat chief minister.
The retired politician claimed that when an auction failed, Shah bought all the items himself and later settled up by the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank. The BJP national chief was the bank's chairman till 2003 and continues to be one of the directors, Mehta claimed.
BJP spokesperson Pandya Mahesh had no role in the auctions which were always organised and conducted by district collectors.
Mahesh was reported missing just before income tax officials searched his premises and those of his accountant last month.When he realised that he would not be able to pay his taxes due to backstabbing of some politicians, he fled to Mumbai.
"The income-tax department too suspected that I was involved in money-laundering," Mahesh said. "I was scared. But now I have decided to reveal all."
Pandya, the BJP spokesperson, refused Mahesh had any hook-up with the state government.
Along with his chartered accountant Tehmul Sethna, Mahesh on September 30 told income tax authorities that he had Rs 13,860 crore in cash in several places in Gujarat and elsewhere. He was asked to pay a 45 per cent tax - that is, Rs 6,237 crore - of which he had to pay the first instalment of Rs 1,560 crore by November 30.