A tax raid on close aides of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, including his deputy secretary Saumya Chaurasia, has become a full blown Centre vs State issue.
On Thursday, some 300 IT officers from Delhi raided properties with alleged links to AK Tuteja, Joint Secretary in the State Commerce and Industry Department, retired IAS officer and former Chief Secretary Vivek Dhand and Raipur Mayor Ezaj Dhebar, liquor trader Pappu Bhatia and former MLA Gurucharan Singh Hora among others.
Anil Tuteja and Vivek Dhand are considered close to Bhupesh Baghel's Congress government in the state.
Bhupesh Baghel slammed the raid at Saumya Chaurasia's residence calling it "political revenge" and claimed that there was an attempt to "destabilise" his government. The raids come a day after the state government's Economic Offences Wing registered an FIR against former principal secretary Aman Singh, a close associate of former Chief Minister and BJP leader Raman Singh.
"We have never stopped Income Tax raids because earlier there used to be prior information but now there is no information. This is political revenge," Mr Baghel told news agency ANI.
A day after the Delhi officers raided the Chief Minister's aides, as many as 19 cars, reportedly hired by Income Tax officials, were seized by the police in Raipur on Friday for 'violation' of traffic rules.
Police say the cars were being checked keeping in mind President Ram Nath Kovind's visit to Raipur on Sunday. Police say vehicles belonging to private travel operators were found parked in no-parking zone. They were fined and later released, police say.
BJP leaders raised the issue in Assembly, alleging that the police were trying to obstruct the ongoing IT raids.