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    Who is Ashok Dhanuka, the businessman in question over cash recovery from Jharkhand MLAs?

    Who is Ashok Dhanuka, the businessman in question over cash recovery from Jharkhand MLAs?

    Who is Ashok Dhanuka, the businessman in question over cash recovery from Jharkhand MLAs?
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    By CNBCTV18.com  IST (Published)

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    Dhanuka is suspected of supplying Rs 48 lakh cash to the three MLAs — Irfan Ansari, Rajesh Kachchap and Naman Bixal — who were nabbed with the money in Howrah district of West Bengal on July 31.

    Guwahati-based businessman Ashok Dhanuka, who has been summoned by the West Bengal police in connection with the arrests of three Congress MLAs from Jharkhand in the cash recovery case, is a long-time close associate of Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s family, according to reports.
    Dhanuka is suspected of supplying Rs 48 lakh cash to the three MLAs — Irfan Ansari, Rajesh Kachchap and Naman Bixal — who were nabbed with the money in Howrah district of West Bengal on July 31. The legislators are said to have gone to Guwahati to meet Sarma before they were nabbed.
    When a West Bengal police team visited Dhanuka’s residence in Guwahati, they were unable to question him as the people inside his house refused to open the door.
    “The house was guarded by Assam police personnel armed with automatic rifles,” an officer from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Kolkata Police was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times. Sarma, who is also Assam’s home minister, has the police under his direct control.
    Since Sarma became the chief minister of the state, the Dhanukas have been given state police protection, The Wire reported. Recently, the CID team summoned Dhanuka to the CID headquarters in Kolkata for questioning.
    Who is Ashok Dhanuka?
    Ashok Dhanuka is the full-time director of Vasistha Realtors, which was earlier called RBS Realtors. According to The Wire, Himanta Biswa Sarma’s son Nandil Biswa Sarma holds a majority stake in Vasistha Realtors.
    Dhanuka became the director of the company in June 2009 and on the same day Sarma’s wife, Riniki Bhuyan Sarma, resigned from the post, The Wire reported earlier, quoting information provided by the company to the ministry of corporate affairs.
    Similarly, Dhanuka became the director of another company called Padamavati Traders (India) Pvt Ltd, where Sarma’s wife Riniki and his father Kailash Nath Sarma were directors. Dhanuka became the director soon after they resigned.
    The businessman’s son, Ghanshyam Dhanuka, is also a director of the company since 2013.
    According to the election affidavit submitted by Sarma before the 2016 assembly elections, Riniki had borrowed Rs 10 lakh from Padamavati Traders.
    Two companies owned by the Dhanukas—GRD Pharmaceutical and Meditime Healthcare – bear the same official address as Vasistha Realtors.
    An RTI-based investigative report by The Wire and The Cross Current in June revealed that when Sarma was the health minister, the state’s health ministry had ordered sanitisers and PPE kits from GRD Pharmaceuticals and Meditime Healthcare at exorbitant rates.
    The investigation also revealed that there were at least six common investors from Kolkata’s Burra Bazar area in Dhanuka’s Padamavati Traders and Sarma’s Vasistha Realtors.
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