- Large team of income tax officers and cops raid aides of Kamal Nath
- Income tax officials claimed undisclosed cash was recovered
- Home, office, bank lockers were searched but nothing was found: Aides
In a pre-dawn three-city operation, Income Tax officials raided at least 50 locations in Delhi and Madhya Pradesh in connection with alleged tax evasions by aides of Chief Minister Kamal Nath. A massive team of around 200 I-T officers and policemen swooped down on the premises of Praveen Kakkad, the Chief Minister's former Officer on Special Duty (OSD), before daybreak. The police claimed that undisclosed cash was recovered during the raids.
"At around 3.30 am tax officials from Delhi broke into my house...the searches went on till very late...searches were carried out at home and in the office...they checked the two bank lockers also but did not find anything incriminating. I think the actions are politically motivated," Praveen Kakkad told NDTV. He also added that the way the search party broke into his house was not right but they "did not torture" anyone.
The searches were carried out at Indore and Bhopal, where Pravin Kakkad has houses. The Chief Minister's former adviser Rajendra Miglani's house in Delhi's Green Park was also among the 50 locations on the taxmen's list. Both Mr Kakkar and Mr Miglani had quit their government jobs just before the dates for the Lok Sabha polls were announced.
Mr Kakkad, a former Madhya Pradesh police officer, was appointed OSD to Kamal Nath after the Congress-led government took charge last year. He has also served as OSD to former union minister Kantilal Bhuria during the UPA's tenure. Mr Bhuria is contesting from Ratlam-Jhabua seat for the Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress has accused the BJP-led central government of going after opposition leaders ahead of elections. "The BJP has been targeting opposition leaders across the country due to political enmity and because of such acts of vendetta, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and DMK chief MK Stalin had to stage protests against the Centre," state Congress media cell in-charge Bhupendra Gupta told news agency PTI.
The BJP hit back alleging "black money worth crores was recovered" during the Income Tax raid at the house of Kamal Nath's private secretary. "This has made one thing clear that those who are thieves have complaints against the watchman," claimed BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya.
The Election Commission on Sunday instructed investigation and enforcement agencies under the finance ministry to ensure that their pre-election raids remain politically neutral, and said that its officials must be kept in the loop before any such exercise is undertaken.