The Income Tax department of Karnataka and Goa region today said the agency has not leaked any information on the reported diary entries of alleged payoffs to Congress leaders, and denied “planting it to malign any party.” “We have not leaked any information to anyone on the issue of reported diary entries of payoffs to any politician,” Director General of Income Tax (Investigation)B R Balakrishnan told reporters here.
Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh had dismissed the diary entries as “fake” and alleged that it was being “planted by income tax authorities to malign their leaders.”
Balakrishnan said the department has replied to a letter written by the police, seeking clarification about leaking of information on the reported diary entries.
“The police had written a letter to us and we have replied to it, providing details of our investigation on a complaint against an I-T official for leaking the information,” he said.
On Congress’ charges that the entries were “fake”, Vishvanath Jha, top I-T official, said the officials cannot reveal anything on the subject as they are bound by the provisions of Section 138 of the Income Tax Act.
“We cannot reveal anything on the subject as they are bound by the provisions of section 138 of the Income Tax Act, but can be revealed if it is a matter of huge public interest,” he said.
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Balakrishnan said, “The Act deals with the mechanism for disclosure of information in respect of taxpayers under the Income Tax Act.”
Asked whether these charges had damaged the department’s reputation, the official said “No, I do not think so.”
Earlier, Congress termed the issue as a “conspiracy” against it and alleged that the issue was reopened under the pressure by the Prime Minister’s Office.
A political slug fest has erupted in Karnataka over the reported diary entries by a political aide of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, indicating alleged payments to Congress central leaders by state ministers, with BJP demanding dissolution of the state Assembly and fresh polls.
Excerpts from the diary allegedly of Siddaramaiah’s Parliamentary Secretary K Govindaraju, made public by the media, showed a few acronyms similar to names of some Congress leaders and the amount in crores of rupees against them, which was purportedly paid or received.
The Income Tax department had in March 2016 conducted searches at the residence of Govindaraju, a Member of the Legislative Council, and seized several documents.
Govindaraju, on his part, had rubbished the charges of payments to Congress central leaders, and said he had nothing to do with the diary and the handwriting being shown by the media was not his.