Former Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) standing committee head Yashwant Jadhav of the Shiv Sena had obtained tenancy rights to 31 flats in Mazgaon’s Bilakhadi Chambers for 10 crores, according to an Income Tax Department probe. He was able to do this with the support of his assistant Bimal Agarwal’s firm Newshawk Multimedia Pvt Ltd.
There was no mention of a monetary value in the agreement between the tenants for transferring their tenancy rights to the firm. According to reports, Jadhav paid all of them in cash, with the exception of two renters in the United States and Canada, who were paid through hawala. Jadhav paid Rs 4 crore to the landowner for ownership of Bilakhadi Chambers.
Surprisingly, the officials confirmed to have discovered two diary entries in which ‘Matoshree’ was handed a watch for Rs 50 lakh and another present worth Rs 2 crore. Shiv Sena leader Yashwant Jadhav, on the other hand, insists that ‘Matoshree’ in the book entries refers to his mother and not Maharashtra Chief Minister’s residence. When questioned, he stated that the first diary entry was about him giving away watches on his mother’s birthday, and the second was about giving out presents to the poor on Gudi Padwa in honour of his mother.
The Income Tax Department is also investigating a Rs 15-crore payback of an unsecured loan to a Kolkata-based shell company that was subsequently channelled back to Jadhav aide Bimal Agarwal’s firm. According to l-T sources, Jadhav used the money to buy a hotel and a property with renters who exploited a Pagdi system.
All of this occurred between 2018 and 2022, during Jadhav’s tenure as head of BMC’s standing committee. As the House’s tenure concluded this month, all of the corporators elected in 2017 became ex-corporators.
Bimal Agarwal and BMC contracts under scanner
Bimal Agarwal is an aide of Yashwant Jadhav and owns a firm Newshawk Multimedia Pvt Ltd. The Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate both apprehended Bimal Agarwal a few years back.
In 2018, Agarwal was released on bail and began working with Jadhav. With the aid of Jadhav, Agarwal was able to secure several BMC contracts totalling Rs 30 crore during the Covid pandemic.
BMC contracts were awarded through bidding, and Yashwant Jadhav was refusing to let anybody else compete for work in the Byculla region, where his wife Yamini Jadhav is an MLA. He even intimidated Suraj Singh Deora, the contractor who got the BMC contract in the region, so that Agarwal could secure the project. In the year 2020, an audiotape of Jadhav threatening Deora became viral on the internet.
Wife Yamini Jadhav investigated
Yamini and Yashwant Jadhav were discovered to have converted Rs 15 crore in illicit money into legal money through Kolkata-based shell business Pradhan Dealers Pvt Ltd, according to a separate inquiry undertaken by the IT department last year.
The money was transferred to Jadhav’s firm as an unsecured loan. The pair claimed they had returned the loan to Pradhan Dealers after the IT department produced a report on Yamini Jadhav. Jadhav returned the money, but it was funnelled back to him through Agarwal’s firm, and some of it was used to acquire the Imperial Crown Hotel in Byculla in the name of Jadhav’s mother-in-law, according to the investigation. Amazingly, the hotel was rented out to BMC as a quarantine centre during the epidemic.
Income Tax Department in action
IT officials raided 36 locations Last month, including Jadhav’s house in Mazgaon’s Bilakhadi Chambers, the home of Bimal Agarwal, and the homes of five private BMC contractors. They discovered information on at least 36 properties worth more than Rs 130 crore and recovered Rs 2 crore in undeclared cash and Rs 1.5 crore worth of jewellery.
The raids also unearthed receipts indicating cash payments totalling more than Rs 120 crore in the last year, primarily to BMC corporators, prompting the department to investigate the specifics of all 26 civic standing committee members.