The Enforcement Directorate conducted raids on the Fairmont Hotel in Jaipur on Monday where Ratan Kant Sharma, close aide of Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot’s son, Vaibhav Gehlot, has stakes. Sharma is alleged to have received Rs. 96.7 crore from Mauritius. He was summoned by the ED four days previously. Sharma is business partners with Vaibhav Gehlot.
Investor Ratan Kant Sharma, close aide of Chief Minister #AshokGehlot‘s son, is under the agency’s scanner.— IANS Tweets (@ians_india) July 13, 2020
Sharma had allegedly received around Rs 96.7 crore from Mauritius and has stakes in Hotel Fairmont. Sharma & #VaibhavGehlot are business partners.@dir_ed pic.twitter.com/AinxikqxVB
It has also been reported that Ashok Gehlot intended to move his MLAs to the Fairmont Hotel. It is also pertinent to note that Vaibhav Gehlot was alleged to have received money from a fictitious entity in Mauritius as well. A complaint was registered with the Enforcement Directorate in 2015 by Jaipur residents Suraj Kumar Soni and Rajkumar Sharma.
The complainants claimed that Shivnar Holding Ltd of Mauritius bouth about 2500 shares of one Triton Hotels and Resorts Pvt Ltd on July 6, 2011 at the price of Rs. 39,900 each when a share was valued at Rs. 100. “Shivnar Holding Ltd that is shown to be registered on June 28, 2006, was a fictitious company created only to root money earned through predicate offence,” it was alleged.
“The Triton Hotels was registered on March 15, 2007 by one Ratan Kant Sharma, who is an old friend of Vaibhav. Sharma was a director in Vaibhav’s company, the Sun Light Car Rental Services also, while Vaibhav was a legal advisor to Triton Hotels and Resorts Pvt Ltd and even received a salary of Rs 50,000 per month,” Soni said quoting from his complaint to the ED.
Reportedly, Ratan Kant Sharma also made several gains during Ashok Gehlot’s tenure as Chief Minister between 2008-13 while Vaibhav Gehlot was hired as a legal advisor in his company. It was reported that a month after Vaibhav Gehlot was hired in 2009, Triton was permitted to utilise 10,000 square metres of land on the Delhi- Jaipur highway for commercial development. A Triton Hotel came up on the land quickly, it was claimed.
Vaibhav Gehlot started a company, Sunlight Tours and Travels, in 2008 and sold 50% of the stakes to Ratan Kant Sharma, a director in Triton, two years later for an amount that was not disclosed. The deals were criticised by the BJP which perceived it to be a case of corruption and nepotism.
IT Raids on Ashok Gehlot’s close aides
On Monday, about 200 Income Tax (I-T) Department officials reportedly raided the house of Congress leader Dharamender Rathore over suspicious foreign transactions. As per the report, Rathore is considered as a ‘close aide’ of Ashok Gehlot.
Besides, the residence of one Rajiv Arora, a jewellery firm owner, has also been raided. Arora is also said to be close to the Rajasthan Chief Minister. The I-T officials conducted searches at several locations in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Jaipur, Kota, Mumbai, and Delhi.
Political Drama unfolding in Rajasthan
A political drama is unfolding in Rajasthan with Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot reportedly on the verge of quitting the party. He reportedly has the support of at least 25 MLAs. He had also met Jyotiraditya Scindia, another senior Congress leader who had recently made a switch to the BJP. Scindia later made a statement that Pilot was being sidelined by the Congress party.