BHOPAL: Posing as Covid Warriors from MP Health Department, 150 income tax sleuths on Thursday started one of the biggest searches at 20 premises of two business groups in the capital city on Thursday.
The properties raided belonged to the business group owned by Piyush Gupta and the Faith Group, a major builder and realtor group owned by Raghvendra Singh Tomar. Tomar, who is considered close to a powerful BJP leader and MP cabinet minister from Gwalior-Chambal region, who played a key role in the fall of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in the central Indian state in March 2020.
The ongoing searches, which are likely to continue for three to four days, have initially led to documents pertaining to 100 immovable properties related to the two business groups and also around Rs 1 crore in cash and jewellery.
The searches which are being carried out after getting specific inputs and evidence of large scale tax evasion and the existence of properties disproportionate to known sources of income could lead to major disclosures about the links of at least one of the business groups with bureaucrats, politicians and police officers and possible unaccounted investments made the rich and influential lot in the group and its properties.
According to key sources associated with the ongoing searches, multiple teams of 150 IT sleuths guarded by MP Police Special Armed Force (SAF) personnel swooped on the 20 premises across Bhopal early on Thursday morning. As per a well-devised plan, the tax sleuths boarding vehicles bearing stickers reading "Government of Madhya Pradesh, Health Department COVID-19 Team Welcomes You" started the searches since 5.30 am.
The searches on the first day led to details and documents pertaining to 100 immovable properties whose value could run into several hundred crores. The properties located in Bhopal and adjoining Sehore included two upscale cricket grounds.
According to informed sources, Raghvendra Singh Tomar, the head of one of the two business groups, is closely associated with a powerful BJP leader and present cabinet minister of Shivraj Singh Chouhan government. The minister hailing from Gwalior-Chambal region, played a key role in the fall of the 15-month-old Kamal Nath led Congress government during March.
In the wake of the searches at Tomar's house, state Congress leader Narendra Saluja (also media coordinator of MP Congress president Kamal Nath) made a series of tweets accusing the powerful BJP leaders in the state of being associated with the Faith Group chairman.
In the tweets, Saluja alleged that the IT department searches have exposed internal tussle within the BJP in Gwalior-Chambal region. "This is nothing, but a move to limit the rising stature of a cabinet minister. Recently the same minister had publicly admitted that Raghvendra Singh Tomar was like his younger brother. Now the BJP needs to clarify that minister's relations with Tomar."
The state BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal, however, termed the Congress leader's tweets as baseless and unfounded. "The Income Tax department is doing its job as per law, but the Congress is making false accusations just to defame BJP politicians."