‘Money seized in I-T raids belong to BJP men’

‘Money seized in I-T raids belong to BJP men’

Two days after the Income tax department teams conducted raids on his close aides and two others, Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Tuesday claimed that the money seized in the operation belonged to the BJP men.

Addressing an election rally in Chhindwara after filing nomination papers for the Assembly seat, Kamal Nath alleged that the BJP was trying to exert pressure on him using a central agency (Income tax department).

Along with the chief minister, his son Nakul Nath filed nomination papers for Chhindwara Lok Sabha seat.  

Later, they took part in a road show in the town, 300 km away from Bhopal, which culminated in an election meeting.

Significantly, the income tax sleuths have seized Rs 10.46 crore in cash from the residences of Ashwani Sharma and Pratik Joshi in the simultaneous raids in New Delhi, Indore, Bhopal and Goa that lasted 48 hours from pre-dawn on Sunday.

Sharma is a known power broker, who was close to BJP leaders and amassed wealth through generous government funding to an NGO run by him during the Shivraj Singh government.

He is fond of lavish lifestyle. The sleuths seized 252 bottle of expensive foreign liquor from his flat adorned with trophies of wild animals. Pratik Joshi is Sharma’s close associate.

After the Congress came to power, both Sharma and Joshi switched their loyalty to Pravin Kakkar, who is a former Officer on Special Duty (OSD) of the chief minister. Kakkar, a former police officer, has a reputation of being a top-level fixer in the corridors of power.

Sources in the Income tax department said they had credible information that Sharma earned ill-gotten money to the tune of several crores acting as middleman in transfers and postings of IAS and IPS officers in the last three months.

The IT department has seized several documents, including electronic evidence, suggesting his close proximity to many top bureaucrats in Bhopal.

Significantly, the income tax department has not seized cash from either Pravin Kakkar, former OSD or Rajendra Miglani, adviser to the chief minister. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) press note release on the raids has not mentioned the cash seizure from the chief minister’s aides.