A reply to the Right to Information has revealed that an amount of Rs 745.59 crore was deposited in the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (popularly known as ADC) within a week of demonetisation. This revelation created a stir in political circles two months ago. The reason for the stir was that Amit Shah, president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, is one of the directors of this bank.
Now, for the first time, Newslaundry has revealed the names of 12 petrol pumps of Gujarat who deposited 80 lakhs or more in the same ADC bank within just five days during demonetisation. Most of these petrol pumps are from Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, and they are owned by BJP leaders, officials. One is the son of the Deputy Superintendent of Police. One of these petrol pumps is owned by Bipin Patel Gota, who is known to be close to Amit Shah and his right hand in the political circles of Ahmedabad.
The Finance Ministry had prepared a list of those institutions which had deposited more than Rs 80 lakh in ADC within a week of demonetisation. The list, which is held by Newslaundry, includes 12 petrol pumps that, in the first week of demonetisation, had deposited Rs 13.5 crore in ADC before banks were forbidden to deposit restricted currency.
We visited 10 of the above 12 petrol pumps over two weeks and reaffirmed details from their owners and managers. Many of them admitted that they had received notice from the Revenue Department about the sudden increase in the amount deposited in ADC Bank during the demonetisation.
Which Petrol Pumps Are Included?
1. Prachi Gasoline:
Run by Bipin Patel Gota, close associate of Amit Shah
Deposited: Rs 1.63 crore in Gota branch of ADC.
Situated in the Gota area of Ahmedabad, this Indian oil petrol pump is operated by Bipin Patel Gota, a close aide of BJP president Amit Shah and records average sales of 13,000 to 14,000 liters of fuel per day.
The manager of the pump, Mangaji Thakur, confirmed that its owner is Bipin Patel Gota. He also stated that during the demonetisation, the sale ‘would not have gone above one and a half times more than the normal sale’.
This means that if Prachi Gasoline sold 20,000 liters of oil per day during the first week of demonetisation, then according to that (petrol was Rs. 68 liters at that time and taking into account all types of sales) the revenue per day would be around 13.60 Used to be lakhs.
Though Thakur said that Prachi Gasoline had not received notice from any government agency regarding deposits during demonetisation, he mentioned that the amount deposited was normal considering the income earned by the petrol pump.
Apart from being a BJP leader, Patel is also one of the directors of ADC. His name comes after Amit Shah on the board inside the Ahmedabad headquarters of the bank on which all the directors of ADC are named. His bio on Twitter has also written that he is also the director of Agricultural Produce Market Committee (PMC) and Gujarat State Cooperative Bank.
Patel is one of the 36 people who were acquitted by the Special Court in 2016 in the 2002 Gulberg Society massacre case.
2. Mahakali Petroleum:
Co-owner- Arvind Chauhan, local BJP leader and sarpanch of Bilasia village.
Deposited: 1.25 crore in Ambapur branch of ADC
This Hindustan Petroleum Petrol Pump is located at a prime location on the state highway near Bilasia village in Ahmedabad. Mahakali Petroleum is licensed in the name of Kantilal M Rathod and is managed by his younger brother Ramabhai Rathod. Ramabhai Rathod, 59, said that two other family members – Prabhat Singh Chauhan and Arvind Chauhan – are also co-owners of the petrol pump and share profits. However, Chauhan and Singh are passive partners in the ownership of the pump.
Chauhan is also the sarpanch of Bilasia village and is also associated with the BJP.
According to Ramabhai Rathod, the average sale of Mahakali Petroleum is currently between 15,000–17,000 liters per day. He said that during the first week of demonetisation, it was about 26,000-30,000 liters per day.
Rathod said, “Two-three months after the demonetisation, we got a notice from the IT department. However, our chartered accountant showed records and accounts, and the matter was resolved in hardly two or three meetings.”
3. Brijraj Petroleum:
Named after Brijraj Singh, vice-president of BJP’s Botad district.
Deposit amount: Rs 84 lakh in Barwala branch of ADC
Brijraj Petroleum is a small Indian Oil petrol pump located near the Ahmedabad-Bhavnagar highway. The owner of the pump is Mahendra Singh Jala, and is named after his nephew Brijraj Singh.
Shivraj Singh, the manager of the pump, told Newslaundry that currently the total sales are around 2,200 liters per day. In view of this, if the sale had doubled during the note ban, it would have reached about 4,500 – 5,000 liters.
Shivraj further informed that Brijraj Petroleum had received notice from the IT department and later submitted his records to resolve the matter. During the conversation, he (Shivraj) also mentioned that Brijraj Singh is the general secretary of the BJP Botad district unit. This fact was confirmed by Newslaundry.
4. Pollen Petroleum:
A family associated with the BJP owns it
Deposited: 1.72 Crore in Uversad branch of ADC
The Essar Petrol Pump located on Uvarsad-Wawal Road in Gandhinagar has three partners and is owned by Parag Patel, whose nephew Anshik Patel is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha – the youth wing of the BJP. Parag Patel told Newslaundry that the current average sales are 10,000 liters per day and during the first week of demonetisation, it also crossed 15,000 liters per day.