New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday moved the Election Commission over "raids" on houses of some party employees, alleging that the Income Tax (I-T) Department was being misused ahead of Assembly polls as a "revengeful" arm of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to target political opponents.
A Congress delegation, comprising Ahmed Patel, Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Vivek Tankha and Manish Tewari, went to the EC office and submitted a memorandum claiming that unknown officials of the Income Tax Department carried out raids on the houses of Congress party officials and searched the premises illegally and refused to show any identity proof or document.
The Opposition party requested the EC to intervene urgently and take strong and punitive action against the officials carrying out "illegal raids".
"Ahead of elections, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) people in Maharashtra and Haryana go to our accountants' house, enter and remain there from 6.00 pm Friday to Sunday evening, without any warrant, without any document," Sibal told reporters outside the Election Commission.
"We know that you people misuse everything. You misuse the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the CBDT... Is this not a danger to the very fundamentals of Indian democracy? If this is not an attack on democracy, then what is it?" he asked.
Sharma said for three days, the Congress's accounts section was totally paralysed. Claiming that the BJP is the richest political party of the world, he said the Congress is required to transfer, whatever funds it has, to its candidates in Maharashtra and in Haryana, in their designated bank accounts by cheque, but has been prevented from doing so.
"That is illegality and we have conveyed to the Election Commission that they should intervene. We have seen it happening in the last elections, it is happening now brazenly," he said. India cannot be converted into a state where democracy is under perpetual seize and the tax department of the government cannot become a department of the ruling party, he said.
Tewari said the delegation asked the Election Commission to call the CBDT and its top officials to account and seek an explanation as to why this "arbitrary high-handed and completely draconian behaviour" is taking place.
The Congress also gave another memorandum to the EC alleging criminal intimidation of voters in Kaithal where the party's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala is contesting. "This is to bring a grave and urgent matter to the attention of the Election Commission and to place on record criminal activities being orchestrated at the behest of the BJP candidate for Kaithal, Haryana, Leela Ram Gujjar," the memorandum said.
"If the party in power is allowed to deploy criminals to subvert the outcome of an election, the Election Commission must take note and order an immediate investigation," it said.
Updated Date: Oct 15, 2019 23:49:56 IST