Finance Minister Arun jaitley on Wednesday hit out at the opposition for criticising the raids conducted by the Income Tax department in the Congress-led states of Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. Dismissing the allegations of the government systematically working against its political opponents, the minister said that legitimate action against corruption is not vendetta.
Taking to his blog, the finance minister said that funds allocated by the central and state governments for public welfare and development were being round-tripped by Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka for political purpose.
In the public space evidence has come in relation to Karnataka where allocations made for public welfare to the Public Works Departments were being round-tripped by engineers for a political purpose. In Madhya Pradesh, an institutional mechanism has been created where money that is meant for development and social welfare of the weaker sections are now being channeled into politics, Jaitley said.
Jaitley said that the revenue department undertakes search operations on the basis of evidence available. He expressed regret over the fact that both the states have not replied to the allegations on merit and are giving argument in their defense as to why they are being singled out and their political rivals are not.
The fact that money is meant for the most vulnerable section of the society, namely, poor children or pregnant women belonging to the economically weaker sections are siphoned out, shows the mind-frame of those indulging in such an act. They do not even spare those who live in destitution. This is the hypocrisy of Indian politics. After inflicting such injustice they have the audacity to speak of Nyay, Jaitley added.
The income tax department recently conducted raids in premises owned by people linked to Kamal Nath, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, on charges of tax evasion and hawala transactions.
While the Lok Sabha polls in Madhya Pradesh will be held from April 29-May 19 period in four phases, in Karnataka, the elections will be conducted in two phases from April 18 to April 23.
The Election Commission of India on Tuesday met Revenue Secretary and the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) head to discuss the recent IT searches in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Delhi among others.
The election commission on Sunday directed the enforcement agencies under the administrative control of the revenue department to take a neutral, impartial and non-discriminatory action and to ensure that the respective chief electoral officers are kept in the loop while carrying out any search operation.
The CBDT on Monday said the searches in Madhya Pradesh detected widespread and well-organised racket of collection of unaccounted cash of around Rs 281 crore. The tax department searched several properties belonging to businessmen, politicians and others related to public service.
Apart from Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, the searches were conducted in Delhi and Goa also. According to CBDT, searches were carried out by 300 I-T officials at 52 locations in four states, yielding unaccounted cash of Rs 14.6 crore so far .