"Height Of Wall Is Height Of Cash": Nirmala Sitharaman On Mega UP Raid

Nirmala Sitharaman said the former Chief Minister Akhliesh Yadav is "shaken" by the raids, as she sought to defend the action.

'Height Of Wall Is Height Of Cash': Nirmala Sitharaman On Mega UP Raid

Nirmala Sitharaman was responding to opposition charges on the mega UP tax raid.

New Delhi:

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said the nearly Rs 200 crore cash recovered in a raid in Uttar Pradesh is "not BJP money", as she offered the most full-throated defence yet of the action and denied it was a case of mistaken identity as the opposition has alleged.

Responding to a question after the GST Council meeting, she said law enforcing agencies act on actionable intelligence in conducting raids and dismissed questions the about the timing of the tax raids saying they were based on actionable intelligence.

"It is not BJP money," she said when on the charge that the Rs 197.49 crore cash recovered from perfume maker Piyush Jain in UP's Kannauj was her party's money and the tax authorities had raided the person by "mistake" and are now raiding the other Jain they had originally wanted to target.

"No ordinary person has 24 kg of gold in their home... The height of the wall is the height of the cash," the minister said.

She said the former Chief Minister Akhliesh Yadav is "shaken" by the raids, as she sought to defend the action.

"How do you know whose money is it? Are you his partner? Because only partners know whose money is kept," she said.

Dismissing opposition charge that the raids were politically motivated, she asked if the raiding parties come empty handed.

Recovery of money shows there was actionable intelligence, she said, adding the raids happening on Friday too were based on such inputs.

Days after a tax raid on an Uttar Pradesh businessman Piyush Jain uncovered eye-popping piles of cash but raised questions whether it had found its intended target, opposition Samajwadi Party's Pushpraj 'Pampi' Jain found himself searched by authorities this morning.

Around 50 locations are being searched by the Income Tax Department in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Mumbai linked to the businessman who owns perfumery, petrol pumps and cold storage operations and had launched a 'Samajwadi Party perfume' ahead of UP elections due early next year.

The raid comes amid a fog of speculation surrounding the huge haul at the Kanpur and Kannauj premises of another businessman Piyush Jain, which led to the recovery of Rs 197 crore in cash and 23 kg gold.

Coming in the middle of a high-pitch election campaign, the raids have entered political speeches, with the BJP and Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party accusing each other of backing the jailed perfume trader.

The BJP had alleged that it was Piyush Jain who recently launched the Samajwadi perfume. Taking a swipe at the opposition party, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Kanpur on Wednesday, "Boxes filled with notes have come out. The people of Kanpur understand business and trade well. Before 2017, the perfume of corruption that they had sprinkled all over Uttar Pradesh is there for everyone to see."

Hitting back, Mr Yadav has said the BJP had mixed up businessman Piyush Jain with Samajwadi Party's Pushpraj Jain, who launched the perfume named after the party. Denying any link with Piyush Jain, he said the BJP got "its own businessman raided by mistake".