CRPF personnel deployed outside the residence of Ashwin Sharma, associate of Praveen Kakkar, who is the Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, engaged in an scuffle with MP Police officers on Sunday. The Income Tax department had roped in the armed personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to keep a vigil. Generally, the I-T department takes the help of the local police during such operations.
According to eyewitnesses, during the I-T searches conducted at the residence of Kakkad in the Vijay Nagar area of the city, armed CRPF personnel were seen posted outside the house.
Sources said a team of the local police was seen deployed about 200 metres from Kakkad's house during the raid. Officials said the entire operation was carried out by the Delhi unit of the I-T department in a very secretive manner.
CRPF personnel accompanying I-T officials clashed with the state police in scenes, which evoked memories of the face-off between Kolkata police and CBI earlier this year.
Madhya Pradesh police personnel alleged that people inside the housing complex of Sharma, who is Kamal Nath's OSD had reached out to the Station House Officer (SHO) of the area seeking assistance.
"We've nothing to do with Income Tax and its ongoing raids. It is a residential complex, there are people inside who need medical assistance and they called the local SHO for help. They have closed the entire residential complex because of the raid," said City SP Bhupinder Singh.
Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the I-T department was doing its work, it's their constitutional right. “CRPF soldiers were on duty, they were being stopped, the MP Police clashed with the CRPF. What Mamata ji did in Bengal, the same game is being played in MP. It's an attempt to save corrupts,” he said.
“Cash is being recovered, documents are found, properties are unearthed. I am surprised that the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh instead of cooperating, he is trying to stop the Income Tax department's proceedings,” Singh added.
The CRPF, which is accompanying the IT officials in conducting the searches have alleged that the police was obstructing it from performing its duty.
"We have not done anything to anyone. They are just trying to show off their rank and obstruct us. The Madhya Pradesh Police is not letting us work. We are from the CRPF and we only follow the orders of our seniors. CRPF is always there for the safety and security of the people. The investigation is still on and this is why we are not allowing people inside," CRPF official told media.
Officials said the entire operation was carried out by the Delhi unit of the I-T department in a very secretive manner. Besides Kakkad's house, at least five other premises were also raided, including Kakkad's office and premises of his close aides, they added.
During the operation conducted ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, a huge amount of cash and several documents related to dubious investments were reportedly recovered. However, local I-T officials said they were unable to disclose the details yet.
They said since the operation was carried out by the Delhi unit of the I-T department, only it could provide the official information about the recovery and seizure. Kakkad's family is associated with a number of businesses, including hospitality.
A former Madhya Pradesh police officer, Kakkad was appointed the OSD to Nath after the Congress-led government came to power in the state last year. He resigned from the post just before the Lok Sabha polls were announced. Kakkad had earlier served as the OSD to former Union minister Kantilal Bhuria during the UPA rule.
(With PTI inputs)