I-T Raids at Premises of Kamal Nath’s Aides, Political Row Erupts
I-T raids were conducted against close aides of MP Chief Minister Kamal Nath and others on charges of tax evasion.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, on Tuesday, 9 April, condemned the Income Tax Department raids at 52 locations against his close aides and others on charges of tax evasion and hawala transactions.
He said “Rajnaitik drishti se jo karne ka prayas kiya ja raha hai usmein koi safal hone wala nahi hai. (The politically motivated efforts that are being made will not be successful).
A team of nearly 200 officials from I-T department and state police, on Sunday, swooped down on the premises at around 3 am and recovered undisclosed cash amounting to Rs 10-14 crore, officials said.
Sources told PTI there is a “strong possibility” of this cash being used as an election inducement to fund political campaigns and bribe voters in the poll-bound state and in Delhi.
Who Are The Officers?
The two officers who are raided are – Praveen Kakkar, Kamal Nath’s Officer on Special Duty (OSD), and RK Miglani, the former adviser to the Madhya Pradesh chief minister.
The IT department official on Sunday night said that they have done jewellery evaluation at Kakkar’s house and that the raid will continue till Monday. “We are checking papers, it is within limit, there is no chance of arrests,” an IT official told ANI.
The two officers had already quit from their posts after the election code came into force last month.
According to sources, Rs 9 crore has been found and around 50 places including the homes of two officers were raided in south Delhi’s Green Park and Madhya Pradesh.
The premises of some executives linked to Miglani’s brother-in-law’s firm Moser Baer, his nephew Ratul Puri in Noida and Kolkata-based businessman Paras Mal Lodha were also raided, the sources added.
Ratul Puri was grilled by the Enforcement Directorate in Delhi in connection with the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland helicopters purchase case last week, reported PTI.
The raids come just a week after the income tax officials raided the premises of the persons associated with the Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka. The raids were condemned by Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and the Congress, who accused the BJP of harassing political opponents.
BJP, Congress Trade Barbs
Senior Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma criticised the raids, saying that investigative agencies are being misused by the ruling BJP. Talking to news agency ANI, Sharma asked if any agency has gone to the BJP to investigate the amount of money spent.
“All this is happening during election time. Has any agency gone to BJP to investigate how crores of money are being spent? There’s no CBI, Income Tax and ED for them.”Anand Sharma, Congress leader
Former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also reacted to the events, saying that the IT Department was “doing its job.”
“I-T dept is doing its work, it’s their constitutional right. CRPF soldiers were on duty, they were being stopped. The MP Police clashed with CRPF. What Mamata ji did in Bengal, the same game is being played in MP. It’s an attempt to save the corrupt.”Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Former Chief Minister
An argument also broke out between the CRPF and Madhya Pradesh Police officials outside the residence of Ashwin Sharma – associate of Praveen Kakkar – where Income Tax raids are underway, reported ANI.
Cong Claims ‘Political Vendetta’
Congress leader Bhupendra Gupta accused the BJP-led central government of targeting Opposition leaders in a “political vendetta.”
“The BJP government has been targeting Opposition leaders across the country due to political enmity. Due to such acts of political vendetta, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and DMK leader MK Stalin had to stage a protest against the Centre.”Bhupendra Gupta, MP Congress’ Media Cell Vice President
Meanwhile, BJP’s National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya quipped, “Thieves are now having a complaint against the watchman.”
‘I-T Is Planning to Raid My Residence Too’
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram alleged that the government was planning Income Tax raids at his residence in a bid to cripple the Lok Sabha election campaign.
He said the people of the country were watching and would give a befitting reply in this election.
"The I-T department knows that we have nothing to hide. They and other agencies have searched our residences before and found nothing. The intention is to cripple the election campaign," he claimed.
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