It isn’t everyday that the revenue secretary, along with the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairman gets summoned by the Election Commission of India.
Revenue secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey and CBDT chairman PC Modi, both, were called in by the EC to explain the recent spurt in the income tax raids in Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh and on SM Moin.
SM Moin is a Congress worker who was recently raided by the I-T department.
According to sources, the EC was not pleased with the way raids were conducted as the commission wasn’t informed about the raids and both the officers were rapped for it. Taking a stern view, the poll agency asked both Pandey and Modi to keep the EC in the loop every time a raid takes place.
The EC was also not pleased with the response of the department when it was asked to explain a paragraph in its letter which had “urged” the EC to “advise” its own officials “to take immediate enforcement action”, where necessary.
According to the EC, it looked like the finance ministry officials did not understand the ramifications of their actions and the seriousness of the poll agency’s questions.
Not making any bones about its stand, the EC brought up the issue of the chief electoral officer of Madhya Pradesh not knowing about the raids when they were being conducted.
During the meeting, the commission made it very clear that from now on it must be kept in the loop with regards to any kind of raids and it also advised both the secretary and the CBDT chairman that they should be neutral, impartial and non-discriminatory in their actions.
After the raids, the Congress party called them a witch-hunt and said they were politically motivated, questioning the timing of the raids.