February 25, 2021 8:23:12 pm
The Income Tax sleuths Thursday carried out raids at the offices and residences of Haryana’s Independent MLA from Meham, Balraj Kundu, in Rohtak and Gurgaon. His in-laws’ residence in Hisar’s Hansi, the houses of the MLA’s two brothers in Rohtak besides around 30 places of his close aides and relatives across Haryana were also searched.
Kundu, who came out in support of the ongoing farmers’ agitation against the new agri laws, had in February 2020 withdrawn support to the BJP-JJP alliance government in Haryana. Kundu and his brothers run multiple buildings and road construction companies and had also constructed a significant portion of the KMP Expressway.
The I-T teams comprising nearly 100 officials accompanied by police personnel began searches at Kundu and his relatives’ residences at around 6.30am. At the time of raids, Kundu was at his Gurgaon residence while his other family members were in Rohtak and mother-in-law Maina Devi in Hansi. As part of the procedure, I-T department took Kundu’s neighbour and a retired revenue department official Suresh Sharma and incumbent councillor of the ward Ashish as witnesses while conducting the raids.
The I-T sleuths also confiscated the mobile phones of all those who were present at his Rohtak residence and nobody was allowed to enter or leave the premises. The raids were going on till the time of the filing of report.
Although no official statement was released by the I-T department regarding seizures, but sources disclosed that the teams had seized several documents, account statements and balancesheets of Kundu and his family members’ business interests and their respective bank accounts.
The sheer volume of the search operations raised many an eyebrows with Kundu’s supporters terming the raids “politically motivated”.
Devender Dangi, an associate of the MLA told The Indian Express that “there was no communication with Balraj Kundu or any of his family members since morning”. Dangi added, “Just because he has been supporting farmers, now the government is using these tactics to hound him”. Dangi also claimed that the business operations were primarily being run by Balraj’s brothers and other family members and he “had resigned from posts in the companies long back”.
In his election affidavit ahead of 2019 Assembly polls, Kundu had shown his and wife’s moveable assets of Rs 72.36 crore and Rs 42.48 crore respectively and immovable assets of Rs 13.70 crore and Rs 12.83 crore, respectively. He had also shown Rs 7.71 crore in income, a significant jump from Rs 55.66 lakh in 2014-15.
A former Zila Parishad chairman from Rohtak, Kundu had contested 2019 Assembly polls from Meham as an Independent candidate after BJP denied him a party ticket. He defeated nearest rival Congress’s Anand Singh Dangi by margin of over 13,000 votes. Later, Kundu alongwith six other Independent MLAs, lent post-poll support to BJP.
However, citing corruption in the Manohar Lal Khattar-led government and levelling allegations against a former minister Manish Grover, Kundu had withdrawn his support from BJP last year. In January this year, Kundu and his brother Shivraj were booked by Haryana Police on charges of cheating and criminal conspiracy on the complaint lodged by a Rohtak resident. Kundu had claimed that he was being framed in the case due to political vendetta at the behest of a BJP leader and former minister from the state.
In October 2020, the Haryana Police booked him and three other people in a cheating case. The FIR was registered in Gurgaon based on a complaint from a resident of the city, the police had said. The MLA had then hit back, saying the FIR, like another one lodged against him in January 2020, was due to “political considerations” as he had been raising his voice against the BJP-led government in Haryana on various issues.
Last year, in bypoll to Baroda assembly seat, Kundu had backed Independent candidate Kapoor Narwal against the joint candidate put up by BJP and JJP. He had later played a vital role in Narwal going back to the Congress and played an important role party defeating the alliance candidate.
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