The Election Commission of India on Thursday clarified that the search by Income-Tax personnel and Tamil Nadu election flying squads in a house in Thoothukudi where DMK Lok Sabha candidate Kanimozhi has been staying “cannot be termed as an income tax raid”. The commission said the exercise was a “discovery inspection”.
It also said that a special expenditure observer has been asked to submit a report in the matter.
The ECI said that the search operation was conducted under the Section 131 of the Income Tax Act. “We want to clarify that income tax officials had gone there under Section 131 (IT Act) summons. This is not an income tax raid. It was kind of a discovery inspection,” an EC official said.
Section 131 of the IT Act empowers I-T officials to conduct inquiries — where it can summon persons / witnesses and examine them under oath, compel production of books of account and documents, and issue commissions.
The search saw the team return empty-handed because the “intelligence input” that cash was stored in the house turned out to be incorrect. The search triggered a political row with Kanimozhi saying she was being targeted because she represents the Opposition alliance.
DMK president Stalin had slammed the Centre, accusing it of “murdering democracy”.