April 10, 2019 4:00:38 pm
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday dismissed the allegations of political vendetta levelled by the opposition parties over the Income Tax raids, saying the revenue department acts objectively and conducts search operations only on the basis of material evidence.
“It has become a routine practice to call any action against corruption as a 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,” wrote Jaitley in his Facebook post titled ‘Legitimate action against corruption is not vendetta’.
In last few days, the Income Tax Department has carried out raids on people linked to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, a JD(S) minister in Karnataka, and a senior DMK leader in Tamil Nadu. The searches are linked to the suspected movement of hawala money during the ongoing polls season and tax evasion.
The raids have been dubbed as politically motivated by opposition parties, including the Congress.
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Jaitley said none of the two state governments (non-BJP ruled Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka) has replied to the allegations on merits. “An argument is being given by them as to why they are being singled out and their political rivals are not being searched. Is there a Right to Equality that no action can be taken till the opponents are charged?
“Revenue Department acts objectively on the basis of material available and takes action when they are satisfied that a case of the search operation is made out,” the minister said.
Taking note of these raids, the Election Commission in its letter to Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey had “strongly 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 the loop about such actions.
The Income Tax Department, Enforcement Directorate and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence are the executive arms of the Revenue Department in dealing with financial crimes.
The seven-phase Lok Sabha election starts from April 11 and counting will be held on May 23.
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