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I-T raids on Delhi minister Kailash Gahlot: AAP accuses BJP-led Centre of trying to intimidate party leaders

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of initiating Income Tax Department raids on Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot in connection with an alleged case of tax evasion.

At a press conference called after I-T sleuths raided 16 properties with links to Gahlot, AAP spokesperson Atishi told reporters that the Centre was blatantly using internal agencies, such as the I-T Department, Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and Delhi Police, to intimidate AAP.

"We must be one of the only political parties in India whose funding comes solely through donations, and also one of the few that receives an income tax notice every day," she said.

The AAP spokesperson alleged that the BJP was attacking Gahlot only to hinder the party's political progress. She emphasised that Gahlot was being targeted because he was leading the legal battle over the disqualification of 20 AAP parliamentary secretaries.

Referring to their disqualification as "unconstitutional" and "illegal", Atishi said: "The central government has tried, time and time, again to disqualify our parliamentary secretaries and have a bid for re-election. However, Gahlot's persistence in the case has prevented them from doing so."

She also said that the BJP wants to block the Delhi government's doorstep delivery of services, where, too, Gahlot is at the forefront. The Arvind Kejriwal government had launched the scheme last month, wherein 40 government services can be home-delivered for Rs 50. Launched in association with a private agency, it envisages a "mobile sahayak" visiting homes for a nominal fee to help people avail of these services.

Kejriwal, too, reacted to the I-T raids on Gahlot, calling on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to comment on the earlier raids that were conducted on him and Satyendra Jain, Delhi's health and power minister.

The CBI had raided Kejriwal's house in Delhi's Civil Lines area in February to collect evidence related to an alleged assault on Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakash by AAP MLAs. The party had called the action "police raj" and said there was no "intimation" before the searches were conducted.

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Updated Date: Oct 10, 2018 17:50:41 IST