‘Cong suspects misuse of CBI, ED, because it did it’

‘Cong suspects misuse of CBI, ED, because it did it’

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman speaks to media persons in Mysuru on Thursday.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman said if the Congress is accusing the Centre that the BJP is misusing Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) for its political ends, it is because the Congress has done it all these years.

She was replying to a question at a media conference here on Thursday while referring to the arrest of former Union minister P Chidambaram by the CBI and ED officials in the INX Media case.

The minister was in the city for a meeting with the income tax authorities and other stakeholders, especially tax assessees. This was the third such meeting, after Ahmedabad in Gujarat and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

She said the Congress, which was in power for over six decades, out of the total of 72 years, in the country should actually know the functioning of the courts and government agencies. “I am saddened by the comments of the Congress leaders. They should encourage government agencies to do their duty. The CBI and ED are trying to get information in the national interest,” she said.

Flood relief

In reply to a question on the delay in announcing flood-relief funds for Karnataka, she said it is true that she and Home Minister Amit Shah visited the flood-affected regions.

"We are not the authorities to assess the damage and loss. As per the procedure, a multi-disciplinary team of experts will visit the flood-affected areas and submit a report to the high power committee. The committee will make recommendations to the Union government to release funds," she said.

“Meanwhile, the state government is spending the amount from the State Disaster Relief Fund,” she added.

Faceless interaction 

Nirmala Sitaraman said faceless interaction, which will be launched during Vijayadashami, will be a revolution in the taxation system.

“The tax authorities will interact with tax assessees via SMS, messages, WhatsApp and e-mail. The use of technology will reduce the stress on both officials and assessees. Even if some problems posted by assessees need face-to-face interaction, only the system will decide which officer will address it,” she said.