THE CENTRAL Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has ordered its officers to inform the Election Commission (EC) and the state Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) “immediately” when a “politically exposed person” is raided or search operations related to alleged electoral malpractices are conducted while the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is in force.
The CBDT issued the order on Wednesday, a day after it was ticked off by the EC for not keeping it in the loop on the recent raids on Opposition leaders.
“The undersigned is directed to convey that in addition to the extant reporting mechanism, whenever any search is conducted on a politically exposed person or in relation to election related activities during the operation of the Model Code of Conduct, the same should be informed to the state CEO/ ECI immediately through the nodal officer of the O/o DGIT (Inv) of the state concerned,” said the order issued by Mamta Bansal, Director (Investigation)-V, to all DGs of Income Tax.
On Tuesday, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and his colleagues Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra had summoned CBDT Chairman P C Mody and Revenue Secretary A B Pandey to express their “displeasure” over the casual approach towards its advice the previous day that any action taken by enforcement agencies during polls should be “neutral”, “impartial” and “non-discriminatory”.
The EC is learnt to have also pulled up the revenue and tax departments for not keeping the Madhya Pradesh CEO informed even several hours after the search operations at the premises of relatives and aides of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath began on April 7.
In a statement on the searches the next day, the CBDT said it had detected a “widespread and well-organised racket of collection of unaccounted cash of about Rs 281 crore”, including transfer of Rs 20 crore to the “headquarter of a major political party in Delhi”.
The Congress had alleged that the searches were carried out at the behest of the BJP, and were aimed at maligning its image ahead of the elections.