Fresh crisis for Arvind Kejriwal with AAP MLA Kartar Singh Tanwar on I-T radar

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA from Chhatarpur, Kartar Singh Tanwar was an honest man when he had contested 2015 Delhi Assembly election, because it was the mandate of the party that took birth from the movement called ‘India Against Corruption’, to field honest and unblemished candidates.

In his affidavit submitted with the Election Commission, Tanwar had declared his assets worth Rs 17.64 crore — of which immovable assets were Rs 7.69 crore and movable assets Rs 9.95 crore. His fleet of cars cost Rs 72 lakh.

But, what about Tanwar’s unaccounted income worth Rs 130 crore that the Income Tax (I-T) department has now found?

Residents of Chhatarpur, AAP party volunteers and police outside Karan Singh Tanwar's residence, when Income Tax raid was conducted in July. Naresh Sharma

Residents of Chhatarpur, AAP party volunteers and police outside Karan Singh Tanwar's residence, when Income Tax raid was conducted in July. Naresh Sharma

With more skeletons tumbling out of the cupboard, it would be a tough time for Income Tax official-turned-Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to save his legislator Kartar Singh Tanwar from the clutches of the I-T department.

Having conducted a series of searches on 27 July, the I-T department has claimed a recovery of Rs 130 crore of unaccounted income and investment from this Chhatarpur MLA on Tuesday. The raids were conducted at the residence, office and farmhouse of the MLA and also at the residences of his brother and domestic help.

The tax department has already seized unaccounted cash and jewellery of about Rs 1 crore from Tanwar and his brother.

“Searches have revealed several illegal transactions by Kartar Singh Tanwar, who bought land and farm houses in Chhatarpur and adjoining Ghitorni. All these were done through cash transactions and more than 30 companies were floated for the purpose,” an I-T official privy to investigation said on condition of anonymity.

Many people in Chhatarpur call Tanwar a ‘land shark’, who has amassed wealth by buying and selling land, especially farm houses. Chhatarpur area in Delhi is known for its farm houses.

Tanwar’s transactions

The I-T investigation comprising searches, scrutiny of documents and questioning of the MLA twice by tax sleuths, has revealed some details of Tanwar’s alleged transactions.

“From the amount of wealth amassed by Tanwar, it’s clear that he has been into these dealings for over a decade,” the official said.

- Tanwar’s transactions have been majorly through cash. He received smaller amounts or token amounts through cheques, whereas the bulk payment used to be in cash only. No tax was paid on this unaccounted cash, as there was no proof of any transaction taking place.
- To avoid paying stamp duty and registration fee, Tanwar allegedly used power of attorney to buy and sell land and farm houses. In Delhi, a property can’t be registered in the person’s name who buys it, if it’s through power of attorney. Similarly, if transfer of property takes place through power of attorney, one need not pay stamp duty. This way the Chattarpur MLA evaded paying duty and fees.
- Tanwar floated more than 30 fictitious companies to show transactions. By fudging books of accounts, he allegedly showed the money he got from land dealings as ‘unsecured loans and advances’.
- He amassed wealth through benami properties.

“He evaded paying tax as no receipts were given against the payments he received in cash and dealings were not done either through cheques or demand drafts. Moreover, by not paying stamp duty and registration fee, Tanwar has cheated the Delhi government,” the I-T source said.

The I-T department is also investigating unexplained and unaccounted expenses on construction of a mall, residential houses, marriage expenses and farm houses having possibility of substantial tax evasion.

“The department has also found a large number of documents showing unaccounted and benami properties. An assessment of the value of these transactions is being done,” the source claimed.

AAP MLA from Chhatarpur, Kartar Singh Tanwar. Naresh Sharma

AAP MLA from Chhatarpur, Kartar Singh Tanwar. Naresh Sharma

Who is Kartar Singh Tanwar?

A resident of Fatehpur Beri in Chhatarpur, Tanwar, a first time MLA has a diploma in Civil Engineering and worked as a junior engineer at Delhi Jal Board (DJB). In 2005, he resigned from DJB to get into full-time social work and politics. He contested municipal election for the first time from Bhati ward in 2007 and became a corporator. He again contested in 2012 and won with a bigger margin. He was a BJP leader before joining AAP in 2014.

AAP sniffs conspiracy

The party has blamed Modi government of a witch-hunt.

Reacting to the raids, Tanwar alleged it was a political witch-hunt by the BJP-led central government.
Immediately after the raids were conducted, deputy CM Manish Sisodia had said in July, “Modiji, you deploy the CBI, Delhi police, IB, ED and Income Tax, but we will keep doing our work.”

But, it is not just the Centre, even party members had raised the red flag. Last year, AAP’s Political Affairs committee members Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav had questioned the dubious background of 12 AAP candidates. Later, both were expelled from the party and they went on to form Swaraj Abhiyan. Till now, FIRs have been filed against 12 AAP MLAs of which 11 have been arrested.

“The internal Lokpal of AAP had also questioned the credentials of these candidates. Gradually, we are seeing how one MLA after another is getting exposed,” a senior member of Swaraj Abhiyan remarked.

Updated Date: Aug 10, 2016 11:21 AM

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