Breaking : With this high profile arrest, the game for many senior politicians and “big fishes” all set to be over

The raid on the firm of Delhi lawyer Rohit Tandon led to a recovery of huge amount of unaccounted cash both in the old and new denominations. However, his arrest and documents recovered from him opened many dark secrets, which led to further high profile arrests of J S Reddy in Chennai and Parasmal Lodha in Mumbai. Along with Rs 135 crore unaccounted cash and 177 kilogram of gold, crucial information was recovered by Enforcement Directorate which led to the arrest of Parasmal Lodha who was planning to escape from India. He is considered one of the biggest catch because of his extremely close contacts with powerful politicians.

As per reports in Indian Express, Two phones recovered from Parasmal Lodha, the real estate businessman arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) late Wednesday for alleged illegal conversion of old currency into new notes, are being described by agency officials as a “treasure trove” and a “digital diary of the who’s who of the political world”.

The report, quoting the sources, further adds that the “digital diary” of Lodha reveals he was offering his services to the “entire spectrum of political personalities”. His WhatsApp chats show he was offering conversion of notes at the rate of 20-25 per cent. After the raid on Tandon’s law firm, sources said Lodha deleted a lot of data from his two phones but the ED recovered the data with the help of experts. The ED is verifying Tandon’s statement before the I-T and Delhi Police Crime Branch with the help of Lodha. Lodha told the ED that in the recent past he had helped a lawyer and a leading politician’s son buy houses in Jor Bagh in New Delhi, and that he was instrumental in managing the cash part of the transactions.

Parasmal Lodha’s arrest is a “prized catch” because the agencies believe it will help uncover a countrywide network of people who took advantage of the situation after November 8. This includes powerful politicians, senior officials from intelligence departments, high ranking bank officials who helped in converting the old demonetized notes to new notes and various other corrupt people having unaccounted wealth who were involved in this process of converting black money to white via various means.

After November 8, black money became a commodity in the underworld money market. There was a price attached to it. If someone had Rs 1 crore in old notes, it was seen as a great business opportunity to make quick money. Old notes worth Rs 1 crore were bought with new notes of Rs 75 lakh and then the existing underground network was used to convert this latest purchase. There were tie-ups with people who would go to banks with, say, 500 or more KYC forms to get new notes. They also created fake accounts overnight, paid bribes to bankers and took new notes from the cash chests,” ED sources said.

Yesterday, based on intelligence reports, Enforcement Directorate got the information of Parasmal Lodha’s plan to leave for Malaysia. ED alerted the customs department across all airports in India. Soon, the Enforcement Directorate officials had in their possession passenger manifest logs and Lodha’s name was found on one of them. Lodha was booked on an 11.30 pm Malaysian Airline flight to Malaysia for Tuesday from Mumbai. ED sleuths lay in wait for Lodha at the airport but did not react when he arrived from Kolkata at around 10.30 pm. He was allowed to check in his bags, and clear security and immigration. He was picked up near boarding gate seconds before boarding. He was allowed to check-in and complete immigration so that it could be established with concrete proof that he was indeed planning to leave the country.

Kshitij Mohan