Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel stand guard during Income Tax officials’ raid at the premises of Praveen Kakkar, OSD to MP Chief Minister Kamal Nath in Indore on Sunday
A team of about 200 I-T Department and police officers swooped down on these premises around 3 am and some undisclosed cash was recovered
I-T Deptt searched premises of Nath’s former Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Pravin Kakkad, former advisor Rajendra Miglani and executives linked to his brother-in-law’s firm Moser Bayer and his nephew Ratul Puri’s company n Our Correspondent and Agencies
THE Income Tax Department on Sunday launched pre-dawn searches on at least 50 locations in Delhi and Madhya Pradesh against people linked to State Chief Minister Kamal Nath on charges of alleged tax evasion, officials said. A team of about 200 Income Tax Department and police officers swooped down on these premises around 3 am and some undisclosed cash was recovered, they said. The raid was kept so secret that not even Madhya Pradesh I-T officials got the air. Even Delhi Income Tax officers did not take help of local police rather they sought security assistance from CRPF.
The searches are linked to suspected movement of hawala money during the ongoing polls season and tax evasion, they said here on Sunday. Locations in Indore, Bhopal and Delhi (Green Park) were being raided and those being searched included Nath’s former Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Pravin Kakkad, former advisor Rajendra Miglani and executives linked to his brother-in-law’s firm Moser Bayer and his nephew Ratul Puri’s company, they said. Both Kakkar and Miglani resigned from their posts just before the Lok Sabha polls were declared. In Indore, the raids were conducted by a team of officials, who arrived from Delhi, at Kakkad’s residence in Vijay Nagar area and other places associated with him, sources in the I-T Department said. Searches were also conducted at Kakkad’s house in Bhopal’s Nadir Colony and a couple of other places in the State capital, they said.
They said documents seized during the searches were being scrutinised in detail. The raids are also being conducted against Kolkata-based businessman Paras Mal Lodha, the sources added. Kakkad, a former Madhya Pradesh police officer, was appointed OSD to Nath after the Congress-led Government came to power in the State last year. He earlier served as OSD to former Union Minister Kantilal Bhuria during the UPA regime. Bhuria is contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha poll from Ratlam-Jhabua seat in MP. Kakkad’s family is associated with a number of businesses, including hospitality. Ratul Puri was last week grilled by the Enforcement Directorate in Delhi in connection with the Rs 3,6000 AgustaWestland helicopters purchase probe. In Bhopal, Income Tax sleuths reached multi-storey building Platinum Plaza and conducted raid at sixth floor where Prateek Joshi and Ashwani Sharma have their offices and residence. It is being said that huge amount of unaccounted sum has been confiscated from Prateek Joshi and Ashwani Sharma. To count the cash, note counting machine was used. Unconfirmed sources suggest that cash seizure is worth Rs 16 crore but there is no official input from the Income Tax Department so far. The actual scenario is likely to be clear by Monday. Till the filing of the story, I-T raid was underway in Bhopal.
Piles of incriminating documents have been also seized. In Indore, Praveen Kakkad’s house was raided apart from raid at Vijay Nagar Showroom, BMC Heights based office, Shalimar Township and Jalsa Garden. In Bhopal also, Kakkad’s house was searched. Notably, Kakkad was earlier police inspector and later he left the job and became OSD of former Union Minister Kantilal Bhuria. Afterwards he came in contact of Kamal Nath. Sources added that the raid also covered Hindustan Power Projects Private limited, Amira Group, Moser Baer. As far as Ratul Puri is concerned, he is said to be Chairman of Hindustan Power Projects Limited. Reacting to the raids, a Congress leader in MP accused the BJP-led Central Government of targeting Opposition leaders for “political vendetta”. MP Congress’ media cell Vice President Bhupendra Gupta, also a former OSD to Nath, charged, “The BJP Government has been targeting Opposition leaders across the country due to political enmity. Due to such act of political vendetta, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister (N Chandrababu Naidu) and DMK leader M K Stalin had to stage protest against the Centre.”
However, the BJP hit back, saying thieves were now having a complaint against the ‘watchman’. “Black money worth crores was recovered during the Income Tax Department’s raid at the house of private Secretary of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath. This has made one thing clear that those who are thieves have a complaint against the watchman,” BJP’s national General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said. Kamal Nath, Digvijaya hit back at BJP: REACTING to the Income Tax searches on the premises of his close aides, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Sunday said the BJP was taking such actions for electoral gains sensing defeat in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. In a statement issued through Madhya Pradesh Congress media cell co-ordinator Narendra Saluja, Nath said, “The situation about the I-T raids is not clear yet. It would be appropriate to speak on this after the situation is clear.
But the entire country knows how the constitutional institutions were used and against whom they were used during the past five years.” “These institutions were used to scare people. When they do not have anything to say on development and their work, they used this kind of tactics against their opponents,” the CM’s statement added. The BJP-led Central Government also came under fire from former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh. Expressing ignorance about the cash found during Sunday’s I-T raids, Singh said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could go to any extent (to have its way).