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‘Hypocrisy’: Arun Jaitley fires back at opposition on income tax raids

In his latest blog, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched a counter-attack at the Congress over income tax raids in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh with a swipe at income guarantee poll promise.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 10, 2019 13:17 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Arun Jaitley,Lok Sabha elections,Income Tax raids
Union Finance Minister and BJP leader Arun Jaitley has hit out at the Congress for crying foul over income tax raids in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh in recent past. (Mohd Zakir/HT Photo)

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has hit out at the Congress for criticising raids by the Income Tax Department in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh dubbing them as political vendetta by the Narendra Modi government in the wake of the Lok Sabha elections.

In his latest blog, Jaitley said public funds were being siphoned off in both Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh inviting searches by the income tax authorities.

“In the public space evidence has come in relation to Karnataka where allocations made for public welfare to the Public Works Departments were being round-tripped by engineers for a political purpose. In Madhya Pradesh, an institutional mechanism has been created where money that is meant for development and social welfare of the weaker sections are now being channeled into politics,” wrote Jaitley in his blog.

Jaitley said money meant for the most vulnerable section of the society is siphoned out. “They do not even spare those who live in destitution. This is the hypocrisy of Indian politics. After inflicting such injustice they have the audacity to speak of Nyay,” said Jaitley taking a swipe at the Congress’s poll promise of rolling out a minimum income guarantee scheme if the party is voted to power in the Lok Sabha elections.

The Congress has been leading the campaign for the Lok Sabha elections with the promise of providing cash support of Rs 72,000 a year to poorest 5 crore families. The scheme, the Congress has said, will benefit about 25 crore individuals in the poorest families of the country.

The Congress is in power in both Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh where the income tax raids have been recently carried out. The tax raids have turned into a huge political row particularly after the Election Commission announced the schedule for the Lok Sabha polls and the Model Code of Conduct came into force on March 10.

Several raids on people connected to political leaders including Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath and cabinet ministers of the HD Kumaraswamy government of Karnataka have been conducted by the central agencies during the period of poll code.

Opposition parties including the Congress have alleged that the Modi government is targeting the rival parties for political reasons in the election season. The complaints by the Opposition leaders were followed by the poll body directing the finance ministry to ensure that the actions by the tax officials are ‘neutral’, ‘impartial’ and ‘non-discriminatory’.

Jaitley has countered the Opposition’s objections saying, “It has become a routine practice to call any action against corruption as political vendetta. Claim of vendetta has never been a legitimate defence in corruption. Those who commit such large acts of corruption have to be judged on the merits of the action itself.”

The Union finance minister said the state governments of Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh have not “replied to the allegations on merits.”

“An argument is being given by them as to why they are being singled out and their political rivals are not being searched. Is there a Right to Equality that no action can be taken till the opponents are charged,” he wrote in his blog.

First Published: Apr 10, 2019 12:56 IST