The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) booked a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientist couple for amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income. The Chandigarh-based DRDO’s Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL) lab scientists - Arun K Agarwal and his wife Babita Agarwal - have allegedly accumulated six properties, including flats and plots in Chandigarh and Noida, have three cars and fixed deposits which were 84.64 per cent disproportionate to their income calculated by the CBI over ten years, beginning from 2010. It amounted to more than ₹1.81 crore, the CBI stated in its FIR registered in September. Before 2010, they did not have assets, the CBI insisted.

Arun, who is head of the works division and Associate Director at TBRL, ”has acquired assets disproportionate to his known source of income and intentionally enriched himself during the period 2010 to March, 2020”, said the CBI which registered the case on the basis of source information. His wife Babita, a Technical Officer at the same lab, “has abetted” the offence “by acquiring assets in joint name”.

According to the list of questionable assets, the duo scientists, among others, have accumulated a flat in sector 121 of Noida, whose value declared by both was ₹Rs 51.5 lakh at the time of acquisition in 2010-11. The CBI said Arun and his wife claimed they have contributed ₹25.75 lakh each for buying the flat.

Similarly, a 500 yards plot at Aerocity in Mohali was bought in 2016 for ₹68 lakh, with Arun and Babita showing that each of them paid 50 percent of the total cost of the land, the CBI has revealed.

Another flat in Zirakpur, which is close to Chandigarh, was also purchased by them in 2019 for ₹65.7 lakh, the CBI informed. Of the total numbers of real estate accumulated, two plots - one in Zirakpur in Babita’s name which was worth ₹10 lakh and another in Panchkula which was bought for ₹26 lakh- were only declared to the department, alleged the CBI.

They also have fixed deposits to the tune of ₹89 lakh, out of which ₹43 lakh was in the name of Arun and the remaining ₹46 lakh Babita had pledged with the State Bank of India (SBI), said the CBI. The sleuths are trying to ascertain their accounts in other banks as well.

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The scientists also have three cars - a Honda City Car, a Hyundai i10 and an Indigo Manza- valued together at ₹22.3 lakh. To calculate the disproportionate asset, the CBI stated income of Arun for the decade starting from 2010 was ₹1.39 crore, and rental earnings were ₹15.12 lakh, while Babita’s income for the same period was ₹60.80 lakh, taking the combined total to ₹2.14 crore. Their expenditure was ₹43.46 lakh, while their spending on a personal visit to the United States was ₹5 lakh. The interest paid by the Agarwals for taking loans for home, education and auto put together was ₹11.5 lakh.

The disproportionate asset of Agarwal arrived at by the CBI was more than ₹1.81 crore - which was after deducting savings and expenditure from the total value of the assets.

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