The Congress party’s national drubbing at the hands of the BJP and in the state he just won is not the only worry for Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath.
Last week, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) forwarded the recommendation of the Election Commission for the need of an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to the agency following allegations of huge illegal money transfers done by aides of the Chief Minister who were searched during simultaneous raids conducted in 52 places by the Income Tax Department on April 7, 2019.
According to officials in the DoPT, the Election Commission has made a strong case for a CBI inquiry in the complaint they sent on April 5, 2019, and with it attached two detailed investigation reports received from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) regarding the search and seizure operations conducted in Delhi, Noida, Bhopal, Indore and Goa.
The EC’s missive to the DoPT states that, “The CBDT has intimated that these searches have unearthed incriminating documents evidencing collection of money from Government Departments in Madhya Pradesh, Ministers, officers and businessmen, a part of which, prima facie, seems to have been diverted for use by various candidates and a particular political party during the ongoing General Elections to the Lok Sabha, 2019.”
The voluminous reports in question, sent by the EC to the DoPT, are divided into four sections and give details of transactions located from diaries, computers and from WhatsApp chats of five persons covered in the search operations, two of whom were posted as OSDs (Officers on Special Duty) with Nath.
The testimonies of the persons searched, taken under Section 131 of the IT Act, have also been included as part of the reports, first sent to the EC and now to the DoPT.
The titles of the Income Tax reports are as follows: use of unaccounted cash in Madhya Pradesh elections; Transfer of Rs 20 crore cash from residence of Shri Kamal Nath to AICC (All India Congress Committee) headquarters; Unaccounted payments made by Ministers and poll violations having linkage to AICC. The IT reports mention the present of evidence in the form of technical surveillance conducted prior to the searches.
There are lists in the IT reports of alleged payments traced to 11 candidates contesting the Lok Sabha election as well as details of cash payments made to 14 candidates who contested the recent Madhya Pradesh State Assembly election. There is also a list of 11 State Government Departments which have allegedly made payments to accountants of former OSDs of the Chief Minister.
Thus, the EC’s letter to the DoPT has noted, “Matters pertaining to the reports of the CBDT requires thorough investigation by an independent agency as it not only affects the purity of the elections, but also indicates a nexus between public servants and politicians for generation of unaccounted money for polluting the electoral environment.”
The EC has asked for the CBI to submit an “action taken report” on the CBDT’s findings to it every two months.
It was on May 17, 2019 that the DoPT dispatched the EC’s recommendation for a CBI inquiry and reports to the CBI with instructions that, “the CBI is requested to take action as appropriate on the above communication received from the Election Commission.”
Despite repeated attempts by The Indian Express, Nath was unavailable for comment.