Surat snack vendor’s property worth Rs 650 cr: I-T department

Surat: Income Tax officials searching wealth of Surat-based tea and snacks vendor-turned-financier Kishore Bhajiawala have in all unearthed property worth Rs 650 crore.

A senior Income Tax official, close to the development, said: “So far information on property in name of Kishore Bhajiawala, his family members and associates worth over Rs 650 crore has been unearthed.

“Over 50 kg of silver, Rs 1.39 crore worth of diamonds, over Rs 6.5 crore in cash and several kg of gold have been found stored in multiple lockers.”

The department began investigations into his bank accounts, lockers and other property last week, after Bhajiawala deposited over a crore of rupees in his account post-demonetisation.

Bhajiawala and his family members were found to be having more than 40 bank accounts.

The sources said more unaccounted money held by him and his family members could be expected to be unearthed in the coming days.

The controversial tea and snacks vendor, who ran a stall in Udhna in the suburbs of Surat city in south Gujarat for over three decades, had turned into a financier for over a decade.

Meanwhile, several photographs of the vendor with senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, including Union Minister Purushottam Rupala, former Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, BJP national Vice President and former in-charge of Gujarat affairs Om Mathur, Vishwa Hindu Parishad President Pravin Togadia and even Gujarat Governor O.P. Kohli surfaced on social media.

In several of these pictures, Bhajiawala and his son Jitendra were seen wearing BJP scarves. However, Rupala has issued a statement denying any association with him.