Under the instructions of Election Commission, the investigatory agencies conducted IT raids under the Union Finance Ministry to ensure that their pre-poll raids remain politically neutral. The poll body also mandated that its officials be informed in advance before any such exercise is undertaken.
CBDT Chairman PC Mody and Revenue Secretary AB Pandey have been called by Election Commission on the recent raid conducted on the close aide of MP CM Kamal Nath.
Sources: CBDT Chairman PC Mody and Revenue Secretary AB Pandey has been called by Election Commission on recent raid conducted on close aide of MP CM Kamal Nath. Both the official have given details about raids and recovery of items, to the Election Commission. pic.twitter.com/e8P2wMxu1G
— ANI (@ANI) April 9, 2019
Earlier, the Election Commission directed enforcement agencies to inform it about any such exercise before undertaking it. “The Election Commission strongly advises that all enforcement actions during the election period, even when conducted ruthlessly with a view to curbing the blatant electoral malpractice be absolutely neutral, impartial and non-discriminatory.
Further, in case of suspected use of such illicit money for electoral purposes, the Chief Electoral Officer should be kept suitably informed while the Model Code of Conduct is in force,” a letter issued by the EC to investigation agencies read.
IT Raid in MP
The Income-Tax Department Monday said it has detected a “widespread and well-organised” racket of a collection of unaccounted cash of about Rs 281 crore as it raided close aides of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath. The team raided several properties that belong to businessmen, politicians and people related to other public services.
Those searched included Nath’s former Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Pravin Kakkar, former adviser Rajendra Miglani, Ashwani Sharma and executives linked to his brother-in-law’s firm Moser Bayer and a company of his nephew Ratul Puri.
The Ministry of Finance also released a press brief ensuring the raids conducted by income tax department in NCR, Bhopal, Indore and Goa-based are upon ‘credible information’ for the ‘collection, possession and movement’ of sizeable unaccounted assets.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said the department has recovered Rs 14.6 crore of “unaccounted” cash and seized diaries and computer files of suspect payments made between Madhya Pradesh and Delhi and Rs 20 crore suspect cash allegedly being moved to the “headquarters of a major political party in Delhi” from the house of an important person who lives on Tughlaq Road, home to many VIPs.
“Rs 14.6 crore of unaccounted cash has been found so far, besides 252 bottles of liquor, few arms and tiger hide-skins,”
the CBDT said in a statement issued late night.
With the final countdown underway for the Lok Sabha elections 2019, it is known that the IT raids in Delhi ‘in the group of a close relative of a senior functionary’ have further led to the seizure of implicating evidence.
The press brief also mentioned that unaccounted cash of Rs. 14.6 crores were recovered, besides that 252 bottles of liquor, few arms and hide-skins of tiger. Meticulous records of collection and cash disbursement in the form of handwritten diaries, computer files and excel sheets corroborate the above findings, it added.
The Income Tax department claimed that further evidence of the racket emerged during IT raids in the national capital against those linked to a “close relative of a senior functionary”. The “incriminating evidence”, it added, included a “cash book recording unaccounted transactions of Rs. 230 crore, syphoning off money through bogus billing of more than Rs. 242 crore, and evidence of over 80 companies in tax havens”.
The IT raids came just a week after the Income Tax department raided people in Karnataka linked to the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition, a move that was termed by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and the Congress as misuse of the government’s power to harass political opponents.
“A part of the cash was also transferred to the headquarter of a major political party in Delhi, including about Rs 20 crore which was moved through hawala recently to the headquarter of the political party from the residence of a senior functionary at Delhi’s Tughlak Road,” news agency ANI said quoting its sources.
The CBDT said several unaccounted/benami properties at posh locations in Delhi have also been detected. It said these “instances of violations of the model code of conduct are being brought to the notice of the Election Commission”.
Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath gave a statement regarding the IT raids conducted against his close aids, “The situation about the I-T raids is not clear yet. It would be appropriate to speak on this after the situation is clear. But the entire country knows how the constitutional institutions were used and against whom they were used during the past five years”.
“These institutions were used to scare people. When they do not have anything to say on development and their work, they used this kind of tactics against their opponents,” the CM’s statement had said.