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‘Congress-JD(S) protests over I-T raids a self goal’: Arun Jaitley

Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday targetted the UPA leaders accusing them of making corruption a cause to fight for instead of trying to weed it out.

india Updated: Mar 30, 2019 22:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Arun Jaitley,India news,UPA
Writing a blog titled ‘UPA makes corruption a cause’ on Facebook, Jaitley said the tax authorities had already clarified that the raids were not on any politicians but against contractors and engineers.(PTI file photo)

Two days after the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) protested outside the Income Tax office in Bengaluru over what the two parties called “politically motivated” raids, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley attacked the Karnataka coalition partners and said the demonstration raised the “needle of suspicion”.

Writing a blog titled ‘UPA makes corruption a cause’ on Facebook, Jaitley said the tax authorities had already clarified that the raids were not on any politicians but against contractors and engineers.

“Why the chief minister and the ministers be seen raising slogans on the streets when corrupt contractors and engineers are being searched...there is a lurking suspicion due to the disproportionality of the reaction that the protestors were more concerned with regard to the “substance” of the search,” he said.

Jaitley was referring to chief minister HD Kumaraswamy joining the protests, where junior irrigation minister CS Puttaraju claiming his residence had been raided.

The finance minister said in the Indian federal structure, the rights of the Union was as important as that of the states.

“Security of India, sovereignty, dealing with terrorism, managing the borders, custom check points, income tax enforcement are all amongst the several constitutional powers of the Union. If the States stand in way of any of them it is guilty of breaching federal norms,” he added.

He said many states had stopped giving police security to income tax authorities when they conducted operations. “Alternatively when state police is asked for, the information is leaked out to the political government and it reaches the targets of the operations. Tax authorities increasingly have to rely on central forces,” he said.

He alleged the protests showed “a text book method of the UPA [United Progressive Alliance] on two fronts: use government money, round trip it through contractors and beneficiaries and enrich themselves. The second is lip sympathy for federalism and destroy it whenever the opportunity arises. This is a very transparent self goal.”

But Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy renewed his attack on Saturday, accusing the income tax department of “harassing” Congress and JD(S) workers in the state and sought the “immediate intervention” of the Election Commission in the matter. Speaking in Bengaluru, he termed the raids a “shameful attempt” to threaten and generate fear among party workers.

First Published: Mar 30, 2019 13:37 IST