IT Dept Refuses To Take Over Rs 8 Cr Seized From BJP Citing ‘Lack of Space’
“It is obvious that someone was jittery because the cash belonged to BJP and they did not want to take it upon themselves,” police officials told Deccan Chronicle.
The Income Tax (IT) department seems to have adopted the attitude that some political parties are more equal than others — it cited a ‘lack of space’ to house the Rs 8 crore seized by the Karnataka police from Bharatiya Janata Party workers.
Vikram Sharma reporting for Deccan Chronicle (DC) wrote that the cash seized on April 8 is at an undisclosed location, under the watchful eye of Hyderabad city police.
Central zone Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) P Vishwaprasad reportedly said while the cash was legally withdrawn from BJP’s account by Dr Laxman, the party’s state president, Election Commission guidelines state that money seized over Rs 10 lakh should be handed over to the IT department.
DC reported that police officials wrote to the IT department about the matter and asked them to take custody of the money. However, the IT department replied that it “did not have the place” to keep it and instead asked the police themselves to keep it in safe custody.
Moreover, the IT department has already cleansed the saffron party of any wrongdoing by saying “there is no Income Tax angle” to the whole affair.
DC reported that all income tax offices have huge strong rooms, where seized money can be stored. “It is obvious that someone was jittery because the cash belonged to the BJP and they did not want to take it upon themselves,” officials told the daily.
Vishwaprasad told DC that the cash could have been deposited with the Court, had there been an FIR registered against those involved. “But there is no FIR in the case,” the DCP said.
Trying to justify the IT department’s refusal to take charge of the seized cash, the DCP also told DC, “The IT department told us that they have no place to keep the money and the seized car and asked us to keep it in safe custody. But there is no problem. It is as good as being in the custody of the IT department.”
The police are now seeking legal opinion on how they should proceed. There is a consensus among experts that even if it wasn’t an Income tax violation, this is a clear Model Code of Conduct violation.
Sources told DC, “A candidate contesting Lok Sabha can spend between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 70 lakh, depending on the state they are contesting from… But what was the purpose behind BJP transporting Rs 8 crore in cash and that, too, just days before the polling? It is an MCC violation.”
Moreover, sources said that it was quite strange how bank officials permitted withdrawal of Rs 8 crore in one transaction. Sources reportedly said that both the IT department and the Telangana state police are under immense pressure to release the amount at the earliest.
Telangana BJP spokesperson Krishna Sagar Rao had earlier told ANI, “The amount seized by police is BJP’s money. Our accountant Gopi was bringing that amount from the bank to the party office. Police overreacted and broke car window panes and seized Rs 2 crore.”
He added, “They also entered into the bank and seized the remaining amount. The money was withdrawn legally to pay dues which are pending since January. BJP has not violated any EC guidelines. Our accountant was also detained by the police. This is a conspiracy by TRS and local parties.”