BHOPAL: Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Income Tax sleuths on Sunday raided over 50 locations—in Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Delhi—connected to aides of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath over tax evasion and claimed to have recovered loads of sensitive documents.
Sources said the searches, which began around 3 am, happened due to specific inputs about large-scale tax evasion and the possibility of funding the Lok Sabha campaign through hawala money. The searches are expected to continue through the night.
Though there was no clarity about the actual seizure, the presence of currency note counting machines at the raided premises in Bhopal and Indore suggested that several crores of rupees in cash could have been seized.
Earlier, over 250 I-T personnel along with armed CRPF squads swooped down on locations in Delhi, Bhopal and Indore on the premises owned by former Madhya Pradesh police officer Pravin Kakkad, who is the Officer on Special Duty to the CM.
They also raided properties of former advisor Rajendra Miglani and executives linked to the CM’s brother-in-law’s firm Moser Baer and his nephew Ratul Puri’s company.
According to sources, Kakkad’s family is associated with a number of businesses, especially in the hospitality sector. Ratul Puri was grilled last week by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Delhi in connection with the AgustaWestland helicopter scam.
In Bhopal, the raided premises included the Nadir Colony (Shyamala Hills) house of Kakkar, besides two premises located on the fourth and sixth floors of the multi-storeyed Platinum Plaza complex and a sprawling resort-cum-marriage garden and banquet hall on Indore’s outskirts.
Sources said the premises raided in Platinum Plaza belonged to Kakkar’s aides Ashwini Sharma and Prateek Joshi. Sharma, who reportedly runs an NGO, is known to have connections with high-profile people in the present Congress and the previous BJP governments in the state.
During searches at Platinum Plaza, a Bhopal police team led by city SP Bhupendra Singh tried to pierce the CRPF cordon but was not allowed immediate entry, leading to a face-off between the Central and state police personnel.