The raids by the Income Tax department is continued for the third day today at the Bhopal residence of Ashwin Sharma, an associate of Praveen Kakkar who is OSD to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath. At midnight on Monday, the I-T department issued a statement stating that searches in Madhya Pradesh have blown the lid off a widespread and well-organised racket of unaccounted cash of about Rs 281 crore through various persons.
In Delhi, the I-T said, sleuths have seized a cash book recording unaccounted transactions of Rs 230 crore, siphoning off money through bogus billing of more than Rs 242 crore and evidence of more than 80 companies in tax havens. Several unaccounted or benami properties in Delhi have also been detected at posh locations by the officials.
The department said that instances of violations of Model Code of Conduct are being brought to the notice of Election Commission.
A CBDT spokesperson on Monday informed that apart from cash, the officials have also recovered 252 bottles of liquor, some arms and tiger hides.
“A part of cash, Rs 20 crore, was also transferred recently to the headquarters of a major political party in Delhi through hawala channel from the residence of a senior functionary at Tughlak Road, New Delhi,” the official said in a statement.
The statement, however, did not identify the political party or its senior functionary. However, media reports claim the leader named by the agency is linked to the Congress party.
The raids began on Sunday in four states — Madhya Pradesh, Goa and NCR which includes Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. The search operations were launched following a tip-off about large scale of collection, possession and movement of unaccounted cash. More than 300 I-T officials participated in the raids that took place at 52 locations in four states which also includes locations of people linked to Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath.
On Monday, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya took a jibe at the Kamal Nath government saying, “The Transfer Express in Madhya Pradesh has derailed. No loss of life, but the loss of 281 crore estimated.”
The Congress responded to the BJP terming raids as a conspiracy by the BJP to target opposition leaders. Kamal Nath’s media coordinator Narender Saluja questioned how the BJP leader come to know of the figure of seizure in the morning.
“The searches were carried out at the instance of the BJP and were aimed at maligning the image of the Congress during elections,” he said.
In Delhi, Congress’ spokesperson too alleged that the raids were being conducted at the behest of BJP government to gain political mileage just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
“There are four campaigners for BJP — Narendra Modiji, Amit Shahji, Enforcement Directorateji and CBIji. Seeing that defeat is written on the walls, frustration has reached the nadir. Enforcement Directorate has become election dhakosla. And they are being flagrantly utilised to tarnish and malign the reputation of political opponents through fake means and fabricated raids,” he said.