To his neighbours in the town of Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh, Piyush Jain was a wealthy, if ‘simple’ man.

Mostly keeping to his personal affairs, he would come to Kannauj for a short while, attend local weddings in modest attire, and head off to Kanpur, where he handled a flourishing chemicals business. What stood out though, was Jain’s mysterious Kannaj property – a large complex that locals described as ‘mysterious’, complete with electrified barbed wire, external CCTVs, and blacked-out windows.

The previous Sunday, Jain’s illegal business activities came crashing down as the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) reported their biggest ever cash seizure at Jain’s properties in Kanpur, Mumbai, and Gujarat – in a raid amounting to over Rs. 257 Crore.

Who Is Piyush Jain?

Piyush Jain

Piyush’s father Mahesh Chandra Jain was a chemist who taught his two sons Ambrish and Piyush the art of perfume making. The two brothers joined forces to launch the family’s Odochem Chemicals firm, which produces odor control and perfume products at an industrial scale.

Piyush seems to have had powerful business skills – over the last fifteen years, he has come to own and operate factories, cold storage, and petrol pumps under 40 companies, including two in the Middle East. In India, he operates between Gujarat and Mumbai – owning a house, head office, and a perfume showroom at the latter.

How Was The Raid Conducted?

Income Tax Raid

According to an investigation by The Quint, Piyush’s elder brother Amrish Jain is called the ‘compound king’ in Kannauj’s industrial circles. Compound specifically refers to a collection of chemicals involved in the production of perfumes – as well as gutka/chewing tobacco.

This is where Shikhar Pan Masala comes into the picture. Based in Kanpur, the company is owned by Pradeep Agarwal – who’s factory was raided by a team from the Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI). While Delhi-based Agarwal was not interrogated at the time, the team recovered some crucial documents during the raid.

According to NDTV reports, these documents led the officials towards Jain’s premises. As per details shared by the Director General’s office, GSTI, Rs. 177.45 crore in cash was recovered from the factory and business premises of Odochem’s Kanpur locations, while Rs. 17 crore in cash and Rs. 23 crore in gold were recovered from the Jain residence mentioned above. The rest was categorized as raw materials.

UP Election Implications

Uttar Pradesh Elections

As the largest ever CBIC cash probe, the incident has certainly ruffled feathers in local political environments. Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav – who has previously been linked with Jain, denied any connection between his party and the businessman.

Rather, Yadav has turned the tables and stated that the CDR (call detail record) of Jain’s phone would reveal the names of BJP leaders who were in cahoots with him.

“By mistake, the BJP got its own businessman raided. Instead of SP leader Pushpraj Jain, it got Piyush Jain raided,” Yadav told reporters before the start of the ‘Samajwadi Rath Yatra’ in Lucknow. He also claimed that Samajwadi Attar (perfume) was launched by SP MLC Pushpraj Jain and not Piyush Jain.

Taking another potshot at the current leading government, he continued, “In a digital mistake, it (the BJP) got its own businessman raided.”

“Even television channels that were flashing the news that the house of an SP man has been raided when the raids started realised by afternoon that it was not true and hence, stopped saying it,” Yadav added.

With mere months left for the crucial 2022 UP Assembly Polls, much of the case has implications for the future of Uttar Pradesh governance. Yadav also added that this record-IT raid proved that ‘demonetisation and GST have failed’ to protect India from black money hoarding. Meanwhile, BJP politician Yogi Adityanath reasserted Jain’s links to Yadav, claiming that his party’s ‘committed’ governance has exposed several tax evaders

Piyush Jain was sent to judicial custody for 14 days on a Kanpur court order on Monday. He will soon be transported to Ahmedabad for further legal action.

(Image Sources: PTI, Samajwadi Party Twitter, BJP Twitter)