IT dept to summon top MP govt officials, politicians, relatives of CM Kamal Nath

Officials said the Income Tax (I-T) department will also issue notices for appearance to some of Nath's close aides based in state capital Bhopal and his constituency, Chhindwara, as part of its action to widen the probe into the case.

The I-T department will soon summon top officials of the Madhya Pradesh government, politicians and relatives of Chief Minister Kamal Nath as part of its probe into an alleged “widespread and well-organised” hawala racket of about Rs 281 crore unearthed during the Lok Sabha polls, sources said on Tuesday.

Officials said the Income Tax (I-T) department will also issue notices for appearance to some of Nath’s close aides based in state capital Bhopal and his constituency, Chhindwara, as part of its action to widen the probe into the case.

As the cash and the hawala deals had “clear links” to the poll process, according to sources, the Election Commission (EC) will issue notices to certain Congress candidates who contested the recent parliamentary polls from various seats in Madhya Pradesh.

Their names figured in an I-T appraisal report prepared by the department after raids were conducted at 52 locations in the state and in Delhi last month.

The report had already been submitted to the EC and the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the sources said. Nath and his aides had earlier termed the I-T action against them as malicious.

“All these fake statements of theirs (I-T department)…they themselves make statements. They themselves give it to the press. So, if they are playing politics, well…there is no end to politics,” the chief minister had told PTI.

The probe in the matter had to be widened and people whose role in the case had been detected had to be confronted with certain documents and other pieces of evidence, and their statements had to be recorded, the sources said.

Senior bureaucrats of at least half-a-dozen government departments of the state, Congress politicians, heads of some state government-appointed federations, promoters of business groups, family members and business partners of Nath and his businessman brother-in-law and his aides, including former OSDs Pravin Kakkar and R K Miglani, were expected to be called for questioning, they added.

This could not be done till now as a number of them said they were busy with poll-related works, the sources said.

The I-T department, in its report submitted to the EC and the CBDT, has chronicled the evidence collected during the two-day-long raids, based on which the poll panel has asked the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to consider asking the CBI for a probe as the allegations of this illegal money transfer during the polls “had basic evidence and the charges are serious”.

The DoPT is the nodal department for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and it can recommend the agency to take up cases of corruption for investigation.

The sources said the tax department had found that huge amounts of money, sourced illegally from government departments in the state, were allegedly used to execute the hawala ring and also for the election expenses of at least 11 Congress candidates in Madhya Pradesh.

The EC, sources in the poll panel said, would take action once it received the expenditure statements from these candidates in about a month’s time.

If a mismatch in the actual expenditure and what was shown in the records was found, a show-cause notice would be issued to the candidate concerned by the EC, asking why should he not be disqualified from contesting future polls for submitting false account statements, they said.

On April 8, the CBDT had said the I-T department had detected a “widespread and well-organised” hawala racket of about Rs 281 crore during raids against the close aides of Nath, a senior Congress leader and the president of the party unit in Madhya Pradesh, and others.

It had said the I-T sleuths had recovered Rs 14.6 crore of “unaccounted” cash and seized diaries and computer files of suspect payments made between Madhya Pradesh and Delhi.

A CBDT statement had said the department had also detected a trail of Rs 20 crore suspect cash allegedly being moved to the “headquarters of a major political party in Delhi” from the house of an important person who lived on Tughlaq Road in the national capital, home to many VIPs.

“Searches in Madhya Pradesh have detected a widespread and well-organised racket of collection of unaccounted cash of about Rs 281 crore through various persons in different walks of life, including business, politics and public service,” the CBDT had said.

It, however, had neither identified the political party nor the senior functionary. The statement had added that records of collection and disbursement of cash “in the form of hand-written diaries, computer files and excel sheets were found and seized and those corroborated the above findings”.

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