In a fresh trouble for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Income Tax department has issued a show-cause notice to her Trinamool Congress party. The notice was issued in connection with alleged irregularities in its audit reports regarding expenses during the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, according to Indian Express report. This comes after prominent leaders of the ruling party in West Bengal have been questioned or arrested in connection with alleged multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam, Narada sting case and Rose Valley Chit Fund scam. According to IE report, the notice was sent in April and it’s regarding “party’s expenditure in the run-up to the 2014 elections in the Punjab and Haryana chapter of the party.”
Notably, the TMC had fielded candidates from Kurukshetra and Rohtak seats in Haryana in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. However, both the candidates fought unsuccessfully. It has been learned that the party had even opened its office in Chandigarh in June 2012. “The party had established offices in both Haryana and Chandigarh. The idea was for the party to play a larger national role and our campaign was focused on Mamata Banerjee’s pro-poor policies and her persona,” according to IE report.
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The report says, the office was inaugurated by senior TMC leader Mukul Roy. He was accompanied by the party’s Rajya Sabha MP and industrialist K D Singh. Notably, Singh was given charge of the party’s affairs in Punjab and Haryana.
This development is likely cause another political slugfest between CM Banerjee and BJP. CM Banerjee has time to time accused the Narendra Modi government of practicising ‘vendetta politics’. Earlier in May, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also had received a ‘similar’ showcause notice, the report says.
The I-T department, however, has rejected allegations of political vendetta. “This is a routine showcause letter and it is not a personal attack on Mamata Banerjee or her party,” an official in the I-T department was saying by Indian Express.
Earlier, an investigation into a ponzi scam, which came to light in 2013, revealed that the Saradha Group had allegedly cheated investors of Rs 1,200 crore in mainly rural areas, as per an official estimate. The CBI had taken over the investigation in June, 2014 following an order of the Supreme Court, the PTI report had said.
Recently, 12 Trinamool Congress leaders including Mukul Roy and Madan Mitra have been booked by the CBI for alleged criminal conspiracy and corruption in the Narada sting case wherein they were purportedly filmed while taking money. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered the FIR under charges of criminal conspiracy and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with bribery and criminal misconduct against the TMC leaders including sitting MPs and West Bengal ministers besides one IPS officer, the agency report says.
The Enforcement Directorate has registered a money laundering case in the Narada ‘sting’ where a number of Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders, including MPs and ministers, were allegedly seen on camera taking money. The agency, officials said, has registered the case under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after studying a CBI FIR, according to reports.