After MP raids, I-T detects "well-organized" racket involving Rs. 281cr
A day after Income Tax officials raided residences of aides of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, the body said on Monday that it has detected "widespread" and "well-organized" racket involving Rs. 281 crore. In a statement, I-T said a portion of cash was "transferred" to a major political party. Evidently, Rs. 20 crore moved through hawala channels, it added. Here's more.
Backstory: I-T conducted pre-dawn raids at houses of Nath's aides
On Sunday, I-T Department conducted raids at residences of Nath's former Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Pravin Kakkar, former adviser Rajendra Miglani, Ashwani Sharma, Paras Mal Lodha and executives linked to his brother-in-law's firm Moser Bayer and a company of his nephew Ratul Puri. Reacting on the same, Nath said the situation wasn't clear but added everyone knew how institutions were misused.
Rs. 20 crore was moved from house of influential person
I-T's statement revealed that sleuths recovered Rs. 14.6 crore of unaccounted cash. They also seized diaries and computed files of alleged payment made between Delhi and Madhya Pradesh. About the aforementioned Rs. 20 crore cash, it said it was moved from the house of an important political figure who lives in Tughlaq Road, New Delhi. Tughlaq Road is famous for housing high-profile people.
I-T said it also recovered bottles of liquor
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), which forms policies for I-T department, said 252 bottles of liquor, few arms and tiger hide-skins, have also been recovered. "Searches in Madhya Pradesh have detected widespread and well-organized racket of the collection of unaccounted cash of about Rs. 281 crore through various persons in different walks of life, including business, politics and public service," the statement read.
I-T claimed it has evidence of bogus-billing and tax havens
Furthermore, I-T added it found "incriminating" evidence after conducting raids at the house of a relative of the senior functionary. The cash book, which I-T said it found, recorded unaccounted transactions of Rs. 230 crore. Money was siphoned off through bogus billing of more than Rs. 242 crore, I-T said. It also has evidence of more than 80 companies in tax havens, it added.
I-T said EC is being informed about the raids
CBDT said it has also detected several benami properties at posh locations in Delhi. "These instances of violations of the model code of conduct are being brought to the notice of the Election Commission," said I-T. Notably, EC had told I-T to keep it in the loop when conducting such raids, considering the upcoming general polls.
The raids should be neutral and impartial: EC
"The Election Commission strongly advises that all enforcement actions during the election period, even when conducted ruthlessly with a view to curb the blatant electoral malpractice (of using money power to influence voter behavior), be absolutely neutral, impartial and non-discriminatory," the polling body said.
Kailash Vijayvargiya tweeted details of raid before I-T released statement
PTI's sources claimed there is a "strong possibility" that this money was slated to be used for funding campaigns or bribing voters. Notably, the findings of I-T sparked a row in political circles. BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya tweeted at 10:53 AM that I-T recovered Rs. 281 crore, way before the top taxing body released its statement. Subsequently, Congress cried conspiracy.
Loss of Rs. 281 crore estimated, Vijayvargiya tweeted
What kind of collusion is this, asked Congress
Narender Saluja, Kamal Nath's media coordinator, asked how did BJP know about the recovered amount. "How could the BJP leader come to know of the figure in the morning? What kind of collusion is this," Saluja asked. Separately, Congress' spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said BJP had four campaigners "Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Enforcement Directorateji and CBIji". He said BJP's defeat is imminent.