The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Parasmal Lodha, a Kolkata-based businessman, from Mumbai Airport for money laundering on 22 December. He was leaving for Malaysia when he was arrested. He has been charged for exchanging Rs 25 crore cash in old notes with new notes.
According to media reports, he is a "digital diary of the who's who of the political world". His name has surfaced in connection to almost every big arrest that the government agencies made post-demonetisation - from Chennai-based businessman Shekhar Reddy to Delhi-based lawyer Rohit Tandon.
Here is a brief profile of Lodha, sourced from various media reports:
- Hails from Churu, Rajasthan. He was a builder in Kolkata before the Left Front came to power. His proximity to Prasanta Sur, a powerful minister of the Left Front allegedly helped him cut his teeth in the realty business.
- Primarily a real estate developer, his other known interests include finance, consultancy, and mining.
- In the recent past, he has barely been seen in Kolkata at social gatherings as he has shifted base to New Delhi for the booming realty market.
-He is infamously known for building extra floors in apartments by subverting laws.
- He is said to have approached owners of houses and offer to buy the "roof rights and build additional residential or office space and ensured that the deal was legal", reports ABP.
-In March 2010, a massive fire devastated Stephen Court, a commercial cum residential mansion in Park Street, Kolkata, killing about 43 people. Lodha's name cropped up as it was alleged that he was constructing some floors in the mansion bypassing law.
- He earned spotlight for the first time in 1991 during his daring plan to control Peerless, a big name in micro financing during that period. Parasmal attempted an aggressive takeover of the company by threatening the owner supposedly at Dawood Ibrahim's order. He is said to have constructed Bagri Market, Kolkata, which was once a hub of smuggled goods.
- He was last in the limelight when his daughter Pallavi married Rahul Jain, the son of DK Jain, chairman of FIEM Group, at his 150-acre farm in Chhattarpur, New Delhi, in 2014. Among the attendees were some big names - Lakshmi Mittal, former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha, MP Sultan Ahmed, Rajinder Chadha, managing director, WAVE group, Ashok Hinduja, MP Vijay Goel, former IPS RK Pachnanda, Maharana of Udaipur Arvind Singh Mewar, Congress MP MS Gill, Naveen Jindal and Gulshan Grover.