Saket Gokhale, a spokesperson for the Trinamool Congress, is accused by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of wasting more than Rs 1.07 crore that had been received through crowdfunding for charity causes on dining, drinking, and other personal costs. The money includes more than 23 lakhs in cash from Rahul Gandhi’s aid.
The agency, which is looking into the cash theft, detained the 35-year-old from the Sabarmati jail on Wednesday and then presented the accusations before a Gujarat court.
The Gujarat police apprehended Gokhale twice in three days in December in relation to the alleged irregularities in the crowdsourcing project, and then they put him in jail. He must remain in the custody of the ED till January 31 per the special court’s ruling.
According to sources, the agency has also called Alankar Sawai, a supporter of Rahul Gandhi. During his interrogation with the ED, Saket Gokhale claimed that Alankar Sawai had paid him cash in the amount of Rs 23.54 lakh in exchange for managing social media.
According to sources, Gokhale raised Rs 1.07 crore through crowdfunding between 2019 and 2022 and used the money for personal needs. Alankar Sawai, in the meantime, has cited the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra and asked the ED for extra time to appear before it.
Sawai, a former banker and close associate of Rahul Gandhi, is in charge of the research group for the Congress MP. When questioned why Alankar Sawai paid him in cash, Gokhale reportedly replied, “Only Alankar Sawai can answer this question”.
Using a private firm called GiantTreeTech Private Limited, Gokhale is said to have established a phoney electronic document in the name of an organisation called “OurDemocracy.in” via which he reportedly solicited donations from the complainant and other people.
The ED emphasised that the funds had been “splurged on speculative share trading, dining out, and other personal expenses that appear to be exorbitant in nature.”
In response, Gokhale refuted claims that he had spent money on himself. Gokhale claimed that in order to avoid needing to raise further money, he invested the money in the stock market. Gokhale is “not cooperating,” the ED informed the court.
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