The Income Tax Department (ITD) sleuths on Tuesday continued their raids at the residence of Ashwani Sharma, a close associate of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Praveen Kakkar. The ITD officers have recovered Rs 10 crore in cash and wildlife articles from the residence of Sharma in Bhopal. Trophies of several animals, including black buck, tiger, chinkara and other animals were found at Sharma’s residence during the raids. The trophies are made by conserving the bodies of animals.
The Income Tax Department on Monday said it has detected a "widespread and well-organised racket" of collection of unaccounted cash of about Rs 281 crore through various persons in different walks of life, including business, politics and public service.
The raids were conducted at the properties linked to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath's Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Pravin Kakkar, former adviser Rajendra Miglani, Ashwani Sharma and executives linked to his brother-in-law's firm Moser Bayer and a company of his nephew Ratul Puri.
Income tax sleuths had reportedly planned the raids three days in advance and went to Bhopal as tourists to ditch the local authorities and state intelligence agencies. The ITD department officers hired a tourist cab and went directly to the pre-decided places without informing local administration.
Even though the Income Tax Department claimed to have recovered huge cash, MP chief minister’s former OSD Pravin Kakkar refuted the claims and said the ITD officers didn’t find anything objectionable. He termed the entire operation politically motivated.
“Despite the 2-day long raid they didn't find any document that they could seize, they didn't recover any cash or jewelry either. They didn't find anything objectionable, it was a political operation,” news agency ANI quoted Kakkar as saying.
Reacting to the development, Chief Minister Kamal Nath said that the Narendra Modi government was using constitutional institutions to threaten political opponents.