Times of India quoted CBI sources in its report saying that Bhajiawala, who also held property worth Rs 400 crore, had used 700 persons for depositing and withdrawing money after demonetisation.
Earlier, the I-T department had found that Bhajiawala had 27 bank accounts of which were benami accounts through which he laundered a large chunk of money. However, the tax department sleuths could not ascertain how money he has deposited or withdrawn.
The I-T department had seized from him Rs 1,45,50,800 (all in new currency notes), gold worth Rs 1,48,88,133, gold jewellery worth Rs 4,92,96,314, diamond jewellery worth Rs 1,39,34,580, and silver ingots worth Rs 77,81,800. Sensing the involvement of banks and bigwigs, the case was later handed over to the CBI.
According to the report, CBI sources said that Bhajiwala, through his proxies, had deposited Rs 1 lakh, Rs 2 lakh and Rs 4 lakh on November 12, 13 and 14, respectively in different bank accounts.
They further claimed that he used as many as 212 persons to convert old currency into new. The CBI has also found that Surat People’s Cooperative Bank’s senior manager Pankaj Bhatt was involved in some of the transactions.
“It is not possible to get such a large number of new currency notes without the involvement of bankers. So we have been probing the roles of various banks,” Times of India quoted a source as sayings.
Bhajiawala, whose net worth is around Rs 2,000 crore, owns several commercial properties, flats, plots and rowhouses in the city.
Bhajiawala came to Surat about 31 years ago with his family and ran a tea and bhajiya stall for many years in Udhna. His business soon picked pace and he later started lending money to people on interest before moving on to the gold business in 2007.
Bhajiawala was clearly on a roll and the success and his wealth soon got to his head. He turned what many would term as a ruthless lender.
It is believed that with time, Bhajiawala who wielded a lot of power thanks to his alleged political connections, usurped the properties of borrowers who failed to pay the interest on time.