Former Home Minister Vipul Chaudhary and his personal assistant Shailesh Parikh were sent to judicial custody at the Mehsana sub-district jail on Friday after a Mehsana court refused to grant further police remand. Both are facing charges of alleged financial irregularities to the tune of Rs 800 crore during Chaudhary’s tenure as Dudhsagar Dairy chairman.
According to an official, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) had sought an additional six-day custody, which the Mehsana district court refused. On September 16, the Mehsana court granted the ACB seven-day custody of the two who were arrested on September 15 based on an FIR filed at the Mehsana ACB police station.
The FIR accused Chaudhary, Parikh and two others — Chaudhary’s wife and son — of offences of cheating, forgery, fraud, criminal conspiracy under provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as for offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Meanwhile, the ACB on Friday said that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been informed of the suspected irregularities.
The ACB alleged that Chaudhary “misused his powers” as chairman of the Dairy and undertook “building capitalisation work”, publicity, purchases of milk coolers and other works without tendering process.
The ACB had earlier alleged that Chaudhary had purportedly routed the ill-gotten funds through 31 companies. On Friday, it added that four such companies have been found to be registered with the Registrar of Companies (RoC), which was found to be fake during the investigation.
The four companies’ addresses were found to be fake with the ACB finding that no such business as existed. It has also been alleged that Parikh, as a chartered accountant, was aware that these companies existed only on paper and despite knowing the same, audited these companies, allegedly assisting Chaudhary in his criminal activities.
The ACB has also found 66 bank accounts, including five in Chaudhary’s name, 10 in the name of his wife, six in the name of his son, and other accounts associated with companies and limited liabilities partnerships (LLPs), that has seen a transaction of nearly Rs 100 crore. Further investigation in this regard is ongoing, the ACB stated.
The ACB also added that in 2011-’12, Chaudhary conducted transactions of Rs 4.25 crore from his HUF account of which Rs 2.95 crore was transacted abroad, which the agency is probing.
The ACB’s probe so far has also revealed that Chaudhary has bought a property in Texas, USA, worth several crores.
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