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HomeEditorialPartner in crime Kripashankar Singh too needs to be investigated-Part II

Partner in crime Kripashankar Singh too needs to be investigated-Part II

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The PIL said that the Congress leader stated in affidavits submitted for state assembly elections in 2004 and 2009 that he had filed IT returns for relevant assessment years. However, an RTI inquiry by the petitioner from IT authorities exposed that he had not filed his returns for many years. The petition alleged that Kripashankar had not disclosed fixed properties worth crore of rupees held in his wife’s name, in the affidavit filed before election commission during 2009 Assembly elections. It annexed a list of such properties. The PIL wondered how Kripashankar’s wife got access to such large amount of money when she had no direct source of income. Enclosing documents, the PIL alleged that unexplained cash deposits of Rs 1.17 crore with Samata Sahakari Bank were found in the account of Kripashankar’s wife. It further claimed that Kripashankar had used chartered flights in the past and that large sums of money were paid for this purpose which needed to be investigated. Kripa is also known as a land mafia of Mumbai and his network was smoothly operated in collaboration with Deeraj builder.;Kripa’s daughter owns massive property and money, his daughter in law is also from a politician’s family and her father was part of Koda scam.

Kripashankar Singh’s eventful political journey has been one of a man who came to Mumbai and sold vegetables, went on to become the “go to” man for the Congress leadership for any party matter in Mumbai, and whose future now looks under a cloud following a chargesheet for disproportionate assets allegedly amassed over the years. The chargesheet by a special investigation team claims Kripashankar and his family have amassed Rs 95.03 crore, of which Rs 18.96 crore is allegedly disproportionate. The chargesheet describes residential and commercial apartments, cars, unaccounted high-value transactions involving businessmen and Bollywood stars. The alleged scam involves Rs 320 crore.

Kripashankar, 69, who would one day become Mumbai Congress chief and minister of state (home) in Maharashtra, hails from Jaunpur. He came to Mumbai in 1971, looking for a job after failing to clear standard XII. He initially made do with occasional work and lived in Rambharose Chawl in suburban Khar along with his brother, Shivshankar Singh, who was then with the state excise department. People who know Kripashankar since those days say, he worked in a dairy firm besides selling vegetables. He reportedly likes to flaunt his humble beginnings; political leaders describe how often he would describe particularly the way he used to sell vegetables.

Kripashankar’s first permanent job was as a packer with a pharmaceutical firm. Simultaneously, he joined the Congress Seva Dal. He made steady progress to become a general secretary in Mumbai Congress. According to the SIT that probed him, his only known source of income at that time was from his agricultural property in Jaunpur. His first break came in 1988, when Pratibha Patil, later President of India and then heading the state Congress, elevated him to the party secretary. Kripashankar also became a partner in a Navi Mumbai-based firm, Sainath Motor Body Building, in which Pratibha’s son Rajendra Shekhawat was a major partner.

The SIT has alleged that both Kripashankar and Shekhawat were incorporated as partners in the firm without investing any capital. “Kripashankar could not satisfactorily explain the reason or purpose for his induction as a partner in the firm that too without any investment. He also failed to explain satisfactorily about his role in the firm,” the chargesheet says. Both retired from the partnership in 2005.

By then, Kripashankar had cut his teeth firmly in politics. In the 1990s, he had become a trusted aide of late Congress president Sitaram Kesri. First being nominated to the Legislative Council in 1994, he became the minister of state (home) in Vilasrao Deshmukh’s government in 1999, after getting elected from Santacruz. With Sonia Gandhi taking over the reins of the party, he is said to have become close to Ahmed Patel and Motilal Vora, and was effectively the leadership’s “go to” man in Mumbai. Kripashankar headed the Mumbai Congress between 2007 and 2011 before stepping down after the assets case first came up. The PIL was filed in 2011, setting off his downfall. The chargeshseet mentions connections with Madhu Koda, the former Jharkhand CM and coal scam accused. The party continued to bank on him for its affairs in Mumbai. When former industries minister Narayan Rane revolted against then chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, Kripashankar was one of the emissaries sent to pacify him. Kripashankar was also a part of the committee that oversaw assembly poll preparations in Mumbai. He failed to retain his own seat. He campaigned actively for Rane in the Bandra (East) bypoll too, which Rane lost.

After 2014, Congress presence shrunk in the state and they lost their existence miserably. Congress party’s senior leaders split wide open in the recent past, and after Vilasrao Deshmukh’s death there is no leader who can bind and unite the party. Anyways, now Koda is proven guilty, can we expect Kripa behind the bars?

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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