Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath.(ANI)
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath.(ANI)

Former Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath link in I-T dept’s probe on Congress

The department found that huge tranches of unaccounted cash were delivered at the headquarters of the Congress in Delhi, the people added, asking not to be named.
By HT Correspondents | HindustanTimes
UPDATED ON NOV 25, 2020 06:03 AM IST

The Income Tax department is a step closer to completing its investigation into the recovery of unaccounted cash from individuals and entities linked to Congress leaders during extensive raids in Delhi, Bhopal, Goa and other locations ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, people familiar with the development said.

The department found that huge tranches of unaccounted cash were delivered at the headquarters of the Congress in Delhi, the people added, asking not to be named.

According to documents reviewed by HT, the investigation is centred around Vikas Dhingra, a relative of Vinela Jain, a close associate of former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath. The investigators have also claimed in the documents that Dhingra’s immigration data shows that he left India in April 2019 and is yet to return. They add that he is likely a “conduit” and not the beneficiary.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) , in April 2019, said in a statement that part of 281 crore of unaccounted cash, “was transferred to the headquarters of a major political party in Delhi”. Without naming the political party at that time, CBDT said that around “20 crore of this cash was moved through hawala (channels) to the party’s headquarters from the residence of a senior functionary at Tughlak Road”.

The department’s statement last year came after raids at 52 locations linked to several individuals and entities, including Nath. His officer on special duty (OSD) Pravin Kakkar, his former advisor Rajendra Miglani, and executives linked to his brother-in-law’s firm Moser Baer and his nephew Ratul Puri’s company Hindustan Powerprojects Pvt Ltd were all raided.

Two of the people cited in the first instance said the tax probe had revealed that the amount delivered to the party was much higher than what was initially believed and that a final report will be sent to the Election Commission and other agencies soon. The documents say Rs 106 crore was “delivered” to the Congress HQ and a further Rs 72 crore to an account maintained by Dhingra, and controlled by Nath. They also claim that some of the money was generated in Madhya Pradesh (when Nath was the chief minister).

Despite repeated attempts to contact him, Nath couldn’t be reached for comment. When contacted, his former OSD RK Miglani declined to comment.

MP Congress spokesperson Saed Jafar said: “Central agencies are working under pressure of the central government. The BJP {Bharatiya Janata Party} leaders are hatching a conspiracy against Congress leaders and they are misusing all the central agencies in it. But we are sure that public is watching everything.”

In Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh home minister Narottam Mishra on Tuesday ordered an inquiry into the transfer of unaccounted money into the account of All India Congress Committee from the year 2016 to 2019 allegedly by former chief minister and MP Congress Committee president Nath.

MIshra told journalists: “We have always said that the previous Congress-led state government was the most corrupt government. Brokers were so active during the tenure of Kamal Nath. People were busy in minting money. Kamal Nath spent money of woman and child development department allocated to resolve the issue of malnutrition on Rahul Gandhi and deposited social welfare fund on Gandhi Welfare. ”

Congress declined to comment on the matter.

According to the two people cited above, the tax department examined several hand-written diaries, computer files and excel sheets recovered during the raids last year, and also questioned individuals linked to these payments .

The findings of the investigation are still being finalised and some of the details being reported are part of the “appraisal report” the two people said. .

“It appears that a section of media has ostensibly accessed some documents, and on that basis they are quoting a sum of Rs 106 crore of unaccounted money that can be traced to the Congress Party. But that may not be the whole truth. The case could involve money worth several hundred crores and there are not just one or two beneficiaries. But, it is an ongoing investigation. The Income-Tax Department is governed by laws and without completing the entire process of investigation and assessment, which also involves replies and responses of entities involved, one cannot reach a final conclusion,” one of the two people said.

The CBDT, which controls the Income-Tax Department, did not respond to queries from HT.

“Investigations are carried on by designated authorities [director general of investigation] and details of an ongoing investigation are not shared even within the Department or the ministry [of finance]. It is understood that matters are currently being investigated,” a finance ministry official said, requesting anonymity.

But MP minister Mishra is keen on pressing ahead with the state’s own case.

“The state government has taken cognizance in the matter. We will take advice of legal experts and also get documents from the Income Tax department. The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) will hold an inquiry in the matter,” he added.

MP Congress leader Narendra Saluja challenged the state government to “prove the accusations”.

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