Income Tax dept slaps notice on Gujarat over MoUs

In a notice to the Gujarat industries commissioner dated February 17, the income-tax deputy director (investigation)  has asked the state government to furnish copies of all MoUs signed at the “Vibrant Gujarat” summit held in January in the state. “Details of the actual investments as per the MoUs signed last year must also be supplied,” it said.
The “Vibrant Gujarat” summit is expected  to bring in an anticipated Rs 21 lakh crore investment.

The I-T department letter states that an inquiry on “Vibrant Gujarat” Summit (VGS) 2011 is pending, and “the details of the MoUs signed by various corporate entities with the Government of Gujarat need to be examined.”

 The letter signed by Deputy Director (Investigations) Anurag Sharma says the inquiry is being conducted under Section 131 (1A) of the Income-Tax Act.

The Gujarat government reacted sharply to the notice, stating that the state was being victimised. Gujarat Industries Minister Saurabhbhai Patel asked the Income-Tax Department if such information had been sought from other state governments. Patel told reporters in Ahmedabad: “We have received a letter from the Income-Tax department seeking information about all the MoUs signed during the VGS 2011. The Congress is using agencies to create hurdles in the development of the state.”

When asked if the state had replied to the I-T letter, Patel said: “We will get into action now. As many as 7,936 MoUs, drawing investment to the tune of Rs 20.83 lakh crore, were signed by the state government at the VGS 2011 held on January 12-13.’’

The Congress has denied the charges. Leader of  Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil said the I-T Department “is  taking action against black money not only in Gujarat but also the entire country.”

Senior BJP leader and deputy leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha S S Ahluwalia in New Delhi reacted sharply to the investigations, saying foreign companies cannot simply enter the country with suitcases full of cash.

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