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Former Central Excise Commissioner , Pralhad Kumar alias P K Ajwani arrested by CBI in 2004 after wads of cash were seized from his south Mumbai house was chargesheeted on corruption charges by CBI last week.

CBI investigations concluded that the suspended Indian Revenue Service official had accumulated property through illegitimate means. By CBI estimates , Ajwani had accumulated movable and immovable properties worth over Rs 10.76 crore, which is more than 2,000 times his purchasing power through known sources of income .

Besides Ajwani, his wife Uma, daughter Leher, subordinate Devendra Chaturvedi (Superintendent of Central Excise), friends Kumarpal Gandhi and Kalyanmal Jain and relatives, Pushpa Panjwani and Rajendra Beesani, have been named as accused in the 8,000-odd page charge sheet.

In October 2004 Ajwani was booked for allegedly demanding a bribe of Rs 90 lakh from a Thane businessman. In subsequent searches at Ajwanis houses at Sripati Arcade, Nana Chowk, and in Andheri, CBI seized Rs 6.15 crore in cash.

At the end of the five-yearlong investigation – conducted by five investigation officers – CBI found that Ajwani also owned flats at Khar (west), Lokhandwala Complex, Oshiwara , Punjab, Rajasthan, a plot and a shop at Gurgaon, Haryana, and a shop at Lokhandwala Complex, Andheri .

Additionally the sleuths found that Ajwani had also allegedly booked a flat in the western suburbs after paying an advance of Rs 15 lakh. Besides immovable properties, CBI also found gold and silver jewellery worth Rs 38.69 lakh, Rs 13.86 lakh in Ajwanis numerous bank accounts, Rs 10.90 lakh in the accounts of his daughters Leher and Nidhi, Rs 5.17 lakh in Umas account. They also found Rs 4.26 lakh invested in fixed deposits and debentures and two four wheelers.

It was one of the biggest recoveries of cash by CBI. Ajwani had purchased properties in the name of his in-laws and parents who had no known source of income. It took us some time to find out the properties but we have made a strong case against him.

The IRS officer allegedly created immovable assets in the name of his mother in-law Pushpa Panjwani, father Ghurialdas , mother Laxmi, and a family-owned company Prathamesh Trades and Exports worth Rs 1.76 crore. He also created movable assets worth Rs 31.10 crore in the name of the above persons.

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June 2024