STATING THAT Revenue Department acts objectively for carrying out search operations, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Wednesday said legitimate action against corruption is not vendetta.
“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,” Jaitley, who is in the US to attend the IMF-World Bank meetings, wrote in a Facebook post.
He said evidence has been found that in Karnataka, allocations made for public welfare to the Public Works Department were being round-tripped by engineers for a political purpose, while in Madhya Pradesh, he alleged, that an institutional mechanism has been created where money meant for development and social welfare of the weaker sections was being channelled into politics.
In the last six months, at least 15 searches by the Income Tax department have been carried out against Opposition leaders and their associates — five in Karnataka, three in Tamil Nadu, two in Andhra Pradesh, two in Delhi and one each in MP, J&K and UP. During the same period, information available in the public domain shows, searches were conducted at premises linked to one BJP functionary in Uttarakhand — the party later distanced itself from the individual.
Most recently, the Income Tax Department has carried out searches on premises of aides and relatives of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on charges of suspicious movement of unaccounted money.
The opposition parties, including the Congress, have dubbed the raids as politically motivated.
Taking note of these searches, the Election Commission in its letter to Revenue Department had advised that any action by its enforcement agencies during election time should be “neutral” and “non-discriminatory” and officials of the poll panel should be kept in loop about such actions. The Revenue Department in its response had said it understood what “neutrality” meant — and that the panel should advise its own officers to curb use of illicit money and keep tax officers in the loop.