Demanding apology from former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari for alleged threat to Income Tax officials, their apex body on Sunday claimed the remarks were aimed at hindering a free and fair probe into Purti group investments and sought security for those handling the case.
"The IRS Association (All India Body) has noted with deep concern and shock, the news-item appearing in the national dailies regarding the alleged threat issued by Shri Nitin Gadkari to the officers of the Income Tax Department investigating the case of suspected tax-evasion by certain companies," the body said in its resolution.
The Association condemned the use of "such intemperate language by a politician of national stature with intention to thwart the rule of law and demands an unconditional apology from him."
The IRS (I-T) is a 4,000-strong body and it is deployed in the country under the umbrella of the tax department and on deputation to other enforcement and investigative agencies for tax collection, checking evasion and a variety of other duties in this domain.
On January 24 in Nagpur, a day after he demitted the office of the BJP president, Gadkari had held out a threat to Income Tax authorities, probing dubious fundings in the Purti group with which he was associated, saying nobody would save them when BJP came to power at the Centre.
"As BJP president I had to maintain dignity and work within boundaries... Now I am a free man. Congress' boat is about to sink and when our party comes to power, there would be no Chidambaram or Sonia to save them (IT officials)," Gadkari had said addressing party workers.
The IRS association has also demanded security for officials working on this case.
"The statement issued by Shri Gadkari is derogatory for the Service and his threat is aimed to hinder free and fair investigations into a matter of alleged tax evasion," said the resolution passed in a meeting held in the national capital.
"The association also requests the authorities to provide adequate security to the concerned officers," it said.
Income Tax department offices in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur have been probing investments of alleged shell companies in the Purti group and the authorities have even summoned Gadkari in person on February 1 as part of this probe.