he Income Tax (IT) Department has become super active and is on an attack mode now. While election process is on, IT sleuths are busy investigating and raiding homes and offices of leaders of different political parties. Some people connected to certain leaders of opposition parties seem to be at the receiving end of these raids. The work of the IT Department can never be faulted. However, the timing of these actions seems very skewed. While the IT Department is not known to raid or attach properties of big businesses that flagrantly violate financial laws and the likes of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi abound across India, the sudden activities against non-BJP political leaders and parties has raised eyebrows of observers.
The most recent raid on the premises of Pravin Kakkar, Officer on Special Duty to the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath, has cast aspersions on the credibility of the IT Department. There is no denying the fact that huge sums of money change hands during election times. This phenomenon is not limited to the Indian democratic system. In reality, all democracies across the world have this one thing in common. Yet, information is available that raids by the Internal Revenue Departments, in all countries, do not interfere in the election process. This is a time where every government organ is expected to refrain from vitiating the atmosphere prior to polls. This argument should not be construed as being supportive of any particular outfit or leader. Generally, these acts by the IT Department would seem very acceptable if similar raids took place against leaders of ruling BJP and of parties in the NDA. Since that is not happening, it is difficult for most observers to digest that these raids are unbiased.
The other angle that is being talked about the Madhya Pradesh event is also interesting to note. The Constitution of India clearly spells out the conditions on which the Union government is bound for sending Central police forces to any state. These conditions are in tune with the federal character of this country and its constitution. One may recall a similar incident when, a few months ago, the Calcutta police Commissioner was summoned for interrogation by the CBI. The Central agency took the help of Central police force to enable its entry, on a Sunday evening, into the Commissioner’s premises. That incident raised a furor and the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee took to the street for her protest. She had also claimed that the Central agencies were violating the Constitution by operating illegally in the state. Instead of adjudicating on the Constitutionality of the operation, the Supreme Court of India ordered that the interrogations of the CP should happen in another state.
Instances of the BJP led Central government using Central agencies as tools of political vendetta have been on the rise. While Demonetisation was used prior to Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, IT raids seem to be the main attack weapon of the BJP in the current Lok Sabha elections. The noise being raised that all institutions of this country are being perverted to suit a single leader might not be far from the truth. With the RBI, Enforcement Directorate, IT and such others being compromised, the Election Commission also seems to be losing its sheen of impartiality in these current elections.
It would be a sad thing if all such institutions, built over a long period of time, come crashing down.