Mumbai: Congress MLA Kripashankar Singh had to step down from the post of Mumbai Pradesh Congress chief after an indictment from the Bombay High Court in disproportionate assets case. But for someone who began his life in Mumbai in 1973 as a vegetable seller, it's perhaps an incredible rags to riches tale.
Kripashankar Singh and his family, whose reported source of income is a salary of Rs 45,000, now owns a sea-facing bungalow, at least seven large flats in some of the costliest locations across Mumbai, several thousand square feet of commercial property and hundreds of acres of land in and out of Maharashtra.
Mumbai Congress chief till last week, Singh's family has now also been booked for criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act, criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery.
Apart from Kripashankar Singh, other booked in the case are his wife Maltidevi, son Narendramohan Singh, daughter-in-law Ankita Singh, daughter Sunita Singh and son-in-law Vijaykumar Singh.
Documents with CNN-IBN suggest at least 22 bank accounts of Kripashankar's family are under scrutiny as transactions worth several crores have taken place through them. The Samata Sahakari Bank account number 18966 belonging to his son Narendramohan Singh witnessed a turnover of Rs 60 crore between 2007 and 2009. On paper he has no known sources of income.
Despite pressure the Congressman remains unfazed. "Law will take its own course," said Kripashankar Singh.
Known to be connected to the Congress high command, his frequent travels to Delhi on chartered flights are also being probed. Authorities are investigating possible tax evasion of crores by him and his family by maintaining dual PAN cards.
Income Tax Department's scrutiny report of Kripashankar's wife, Maltidevi suggests that in 2004-05 her total taxable income was nil and income from agricultural land was Rs 69,000. However, an I-T probe established total taxable income to be over Rs 11,60,214.
Similarly, in 2005 and 2008 contrary to her claims of Rs 75,000 and Rs 1,28,000 as agricultural income, the Tax Department found her income to be over Rs 25,91,189 and Rs 1,35,68,333 respectively.
Ironically, the case against Kripashankar Singh has been registered in a police station, which he himself inaugurated in 2002 as a Minister of State of Home. But the latest FIR couldn't have come at a worse time for both the Congress and Kripashankar - just a few days after the Municipal election debacle. It remains to be seen though, whether an embarrassed Congress backs him; and if so, for how long.