Taking potshots at the Centre over its black money compliance window, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday alleged IT department is targeting traders across the country to meet its target while big businessmen like Vijay Malya were going scot-free. Reaching out to the business community in Punjab, traditionally considered BJP supporters, he said if AAP forms next government it would end ‘raid raj’ and bring “business-friendly” policies in the state as it has done in Delhi.
Kejriwal said the trader community has complained to him of unnecessary IT department raids. “Instead of conducting such raids, IT sleuths should be raiding Vijay Malya and I’m sure their target of at least Rs 7000 crore could have been met,” he said in an apparent reference to Centre’s Income Declaration Scheme which gives citizens time till September 30 to declare undisclosed income.
“Giant corporate houses are being allowed to go scot-free with the loot, which indicates the government’s intention on the issue of black money,” the Delhi CM said. He claimed the AAP government in Delhi reduced Value Added Tax (VAT) on many items from 12.5% to 5% even without the traders even asking for it.
Speaking on the occasion of Maharaja Agarsen Jayanti in Jalandhar, Kejriwal, who attended the programme as chief guest, vowed to end ‘raid raj’ in Punjab if his party comes to power after the 2017 Assembly poll in the state. “It is our observation that raid raj instead of curbing corruption encourages it among corrupt bureaucrats and inspectors,” he said.
Therefore, it’s very important governments must discourage ‘raid raj’ in any state, he said, adding corrupt officers fill their own pockets instead of government’s coffer through such activities. “When we came to power in Delhi, about 150 raids were being conducted per month, which we stopped and now raids are allowed only in cases the department has ample evidence against whom the raid to be conducted,” he said.
On the drug menace in Punjab, Kejriwal said, “We have to curb this menace and once it is done there would be a dire need of employment for rehabilitating youths.” He said the business community could help by giving jobs to such youths so that they don’t get astray again.
Earlier, on his visit to Jalandhar by road from Amritsar, Congress women wing protested against him showing placards and black flags. The protesters were whisked away by police from the venue.