Congress links 'cloak-and-dagger' I-T raids to graft probe by Chhattisgarh govt, slams CRPF use
The searches are being conducted to probe charges of alleged tax evasion by these people who include the family of a senior IAS officer in CM Bhupesh Baghel-led Congress government in Chhattisgarh.
NEW DELHI: The Congress on Sunday said the "cloak-and-dagger" I-T raids in Chhattisgarh in which the CRPF assisted the income tax department teams showed that the Centre was "scared" after the state government launched a probe into alleged corruption under the previous BJP government and claimed the central force was being used for "political vendetta" like other investigative agencies.
Terming it as "coercive and insecure centrism", Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged that "fly-by-night midnight operations" and "cover-up corruption" raids were being conducted in Chhattisgarh to destabilise the ongoing investigations in corruption cases.
Over the last few days, the Income Tax department conducted searches at multiple locations linked to Chhattisgarh government officials and others.
The searches are being conducted to probe charges of alleged tax evasion by these people who include the family of a senior IAS officer in Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel-led Congress government in the state.
The I-T teams were assisted by central paramilitary force in the raids in Raipur and a few other locations.
"The Modi government's so called alliance with central investigative agencies in non-BJP states has now been extended to include the CRPF," Surjewala said.
He said that the way in which I-T department and the CRPF carried out raids in the last four days, without informing the police and the democratic government in the state, shows that the Centre is running scared.
"A PDS scam worth Rs 36,000 crore broke out in Chhattisgarh earlier. The diary that came into police possession by chance, which gave information about the scam has been put forth in front of the media by Congress party leaders like Bhupesh Baghel, T S Singh Deo and myself," he said.
Surjewala said that the raids have been conducted in a clandestine, cloak-and -dagger manner without any information being provided to the state government or to the state police.
"This deployment of a central force to assist in motivated income tax raids undermines almost every line of Dr Ambedkar's caveat and the constitutional scheme laid out in List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution which places law and order under the state's exclusive remit," he said.
Surjewala also said that it is not surprising that the raids began only after the economic offences wing of the state government launched an investigation into alleged acts of corruption that took place under the purview of the previous BJP Government.
The Congress leader stated that the Congress Government of Chhattisgarh will take this as a "sign of encouragement" that their own investigations are proceeding in the right direction.
"We as a country have become familiar with these tactics over the last five and a half years.
But Modi-Shah duo, in their zeal and desperation to intimidate, have done the nation a huge disservice," alleged Surjewala.
"When we say that Constitution is a federal Constitution, it means that the Provinces are as sovereign as the Centre.
In other words, barring the provisions which permit the Centre to override any legislation that may be passed by the Provinces, which have a plenary authority to make any law for the peace, order and good government of that Province," the Congress leader said.
Senior Congress leader PL Punia said that the clumsy method, manner and timing of the raids have exposed the malintent and designs of the Centre.
"All governments prior to this one have deemed the deployment of central forces to be limited to rare and exceptional circumstances and always in the interest of the general public.
"No government in Indian history, prior to the Modi-Shah regime, can be accused of reducing the status of an elite force such as the CRPF to that of an accompanying party for an income tax raid.
No political party, except the BJP, has ever used the CRPF to execute a political vendetta," said Punia.
He alleged that the 15 years of BJP government in the state were a "model of corruption", adding that it is not surprising that the raids began only after the economic offences wing of the state government launched an investigation into alleged acts of corruption that took place under the previous BJP government.