I-T department raids govt officials in Chhattisgarh
With income tax officials continuing their raids on offices and residences of senior bureaucrats in the state for the second day on Friday, Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel submitted a memorandum to governor, Anusuiya Uikey, alleging that these were being conducted as part of “vendetta” politics.
On Friday, a team of Income Tax officials raided home of deputy secretary in the chief minister’s office, Saumaya Chaursia, in Bhilai, alleging tax evasion. Chaursia is a Chhattisgarh Administrative Service official.
The IT officials did not provide any details of the raid at her home and said it was linked with the ongoing searches in the state.
On Thursday, the IT department searched the residences and offices of Raipur Mayor Aijaz Dhebar, joint secretary in the state’s industry department, A K Tuteja, and former state chief secretary Vivek Dhand, who was appointed chairperson of the state Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) in 2019.
On Thursday, the department also raided at least 25 premises linked to other Chhattisgarh government officials and Congress leaders on charges of tax evasion, tax department officials said on condition of anonymity, refusing to provide specific details of who all were raided and why.
“This is vendetta politics of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at Centre,” Baghel said, after meeting the governor. “The central government is rattled because we have started investigations against people involved in scams during the BJP’s rule,” he said.
The Congress won in 2018 assembly elections ending 15 years of BJP rule in the state.
Earlier IT officials used to inform us and we used to provide them security. This time no information was given, which reflects the (motive is) political vendetta,” Bhupesh said.
On Thursday night, the Raipur police seized 19 taxis, reportedly used by income tax officials, for allegedly flouting parking norms. The drivers of these taxis confirmed that the cars were hired by income tax officials.
“In view of President Ramnath Kovind’s visit to Raipur on March 1, patrolling was going on in the city when a team of Raipur police found suspicious movement of these vehicles in the early hours of Friday. The vehicles were seized and sent to police line. Drivers told us that these vehicles were used by the IT department. We tried to confirm this but the IT department refused to talk about the issue. Later we imposed fine as per rules of the Motor Vehicles Act, and released the vehicles,” said Arif Sheikh, superintendent of police, Raipur.
BJP legislator and spokesperson, Shivratan Sharma, said the Raipur police was trying to hamper the work of IT officials. “The income tax department must have got inputs of disproportionate assets following which they have taken action. It would not be appropriate to comment over it till the department does not make its report (of raids) public.”