With elections due in UP, Punjab and four other states in India in the next three months, anything happening in the lives of any politician or their associates was always going to be ‘debatable’ to put it mildly. Akhilesh Yadav seems to be in overdrive in deciphering the Modi government moves.
Thus when on December 22 (lasting 5 days) the offices and residences of Piyush Jain, a perfume businessman from Kannauj with offices and showrooms in Kanpur and Mumbai and connections all over India and abroad, were raided by the Indian income tax department, varied interpretations were guaranteed.
A huge haul of cash – Rs 250 crore, 23 kilograms of Gold and 600 kilograms of Sandalwood among other things were reportedly seized by the IT sleuths. Cash counting machines were brought in and it was reported that those machines were heating up – doing the continuous hard work of counting the cash. The way and the nook and corner the cash was hidden – was also of interest to the authorities which did not hide details from the media.
This was seen an attack on the Samajwadi Party because it had earlier launched – Samajwadi Party ‘ittar’ of perfume with an image of its election symbol ‘cycle’ and Akhilesh Yadav on the packaging.
Unsurprisingly, the raids were immediately connected to the 2022 elections in UP by a section of the media.
The afternoon debates on the Indian TV channels – which are many – were only discussing these raids. The many attempts of the BJP spokespersons to link the rich haul to the Samajwadi party was countered by the spokespersons of the Samajwadi party claiming there was no connection of the party with Piyush Jain.
It was claimed Piyush Jain was a strange businessman who despite his huge wealth drove an old scooter back in Kannauj and very ordinary, old car in Kanpur.
Although Akhilesh’s warriors kept on fighting the fight of ‘no connection’ to the party, the shine of “Akhilesh Aa Rahe Hain… song and dance…” was all but gone.
The subservient media outlets kept on highlighting the “no connection” claims while the other section of the media unearthed the “connection” – undeniable link of the party to Piyush Jain via Samajwadi party MLC – Pushap Raj Jain, maternal uncle of Piyush Jain. The two jains, the media now claimed – were the people who took complete care of Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav’s election to the Indian parliament in 2012, 2014 and 2019.
Now photos have emerged (see attached) of the two Jains having accompanied Akhilesh Yadav to France on government funding.
Following the raids, Piyush Jain was sent to two weeks judicial custody pending investigation.
He also moved the Supreme Court of India claiming to be willing to pay Rs 52 crore approximately (calculated at the time) as Income Tax and requested that the money be returned to him.
The BJP and other independent political operatives claim the hauled up cash was stashed away to fight the 2022 elections in UP by the Samajwadi party.
It is nigh impossible for a layman to see ‘NO’ Samajwaid party connection to this money. In that context, the BJP sympathizers claim Akhilesh Yadav’s 2022 election goose is pretty much cooked and he should be casting his eyes on 2024 for his wife and 2027 for himself.
His warriors argue the BJP (both at the centre and in the state of UP) are misusing the government machinery and these raids are nothing but misuse of the government machinery in an attempt to malign the image of the Samajwadi party and the commoners will see through their Machiavellian designs and thrash them at the ballot box.
Only time will tell.