IT raids spawn tit-for-tat in MP

Stung by the Income Tax raids on Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s two close aides, the Madhya Pradesh government has expedited probes into the scams that surfaced during the previous government. PTI file photo

Campaign for the Lok Sabha election in Madhya Pradesh is set to witness unprecedented tit-for-tat politics, with the Kamal Nath government swinging into action against BJP leaders who are suspected to be involved in several scams of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government.      

Stung by the Income Tax raids on Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s two close aides, the Madhya Pradesh government has expedited probes into the scams that surfaced during the previous government.

The Income Tax department on Sunday had launched a series of searches at 52 places in Indore, Bhopal, New Delhi and Goa. The massive operation covered the CM’s former OSD Pravin Kakkar and adviser Rajendra Miglani.

In what appears to be a retaliatory move, the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) on Wednesday registered a First Information Report (FIR) against seven companies in connection with the Rs 3,000 crore e-tendering scam, which was being probed under the previous BJP government.

The investigating agency has also filed FIRs against officers in five departments and unidentified BJP leaders, including former ministers.

The EOW has also tightened screws on the accused in the fake websites scam, involving illegal gratification to journalists and their kin to the tune of Rs 98 crore by the state’s Public Relations department.

According to government sources, probes into illegal appointments and embezzlement of funds in the Makhan Lal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and alleged misuse of the MP Local Area Development (MPLAD) funds by BJP MPs have also been speeded up.

A former minister and BJP MLA Jalam Singh Patel were sent to jail after he surrendered in a police station in Narsinghpur district, on the charge of obstructing government servants from performing their duty.  

The e-tendering scam surfaced in January last year. It was discovered that bureaucrats, in collusion with certain leaders and company executives, manipulated the e-tendering process in works departments to get illegal benefit to bidding companies.

A senior IAS officer Manish Rastogi exposed the scam when he was the MD of the MP State Electronics Development Corporation.

EOW additional director general KN Tiwari, said a rip-off worth Rs 900 crore was involved in e-tenders issued between January 2018 and March 2018. The anti-graft agency will soon put up chargesheets against the accused.

Under the e-tendering process which began in 2014, contracts worth Rs 3 lakh crore have been awarded by works departments such as Public Works and Public Health Engineering. So far, irregularities involving Rs 3000 crore have been detected by EOW investigators.   

The case related to doling out money to several journalists and their relatives for their bogus websites is in court. On Tuesday, the EOW sought three months more to thoroughly probe the scam which the court agreed upon. 

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IT raids spawn tit-for-tat in MP

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