April 1, 2020
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Telangana news

Action an affront to cooperative federalism, CM tells Modi

The ongoing tax raids using Central forces in Chhattisgarh and the actions of the Union Finance and Home Ministries are an affront to cooperative federalism, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.Mr. Baghel said it is an “intriguing coincidence” that the raids coincided with the decision of the State government to initiate criminal investigations into corruption under the previous BJP government, led by Dr. Raman Singh.He pointed out that as per reports, the Income Tax (I-T) Department has conducted at least 25 raids in a “clandestine manner” across various locations in the State since February 27.“May I respectfully point out that the actions of Finance/Home Ministries of the Government of India are nothing short of an affront to the idea of cooperative federalism that you have often spoken about,” the Chief Minister’s letter said.Mr. Baghel said the action not only reflects “coercive and insecure centrism but also the actions of the Central agencies border on political vendetta on one hand and threaten the very core of our democracy on the other”.“… As a former Chief Minister, you would agree that Law and Order is a State subject and Central forces cannot be deployed in a State without consent and prior intimation to the State government,” he wrote.“If each one of us fails to adhere to this cardinal principle of our Constitutional democracy, we would become an undemocratic anarchy,” the letter stated.The Chief Minister also questioned the “unconstitutional” use of CRPF personnel, who are to be used only for “emergencies” and exceptional circumstances, during the raids.“May I respectfully point out that our State government has never refused any assistance to Income Tax or any other department of the Union. I take this opportunity to reiterate the availability of the police machinery or any other assistance in the quest to find and prosecute the corrupt. I am certain you will support my government’s endeavour expose corruption bereft of any ideology. This would be in tune with your good self’s assertions,” Mr. Baghel said. Income Tax Department searches in Raipur on February 27 uncovered evidence of huge amounts of “unaccounted cash” generated from liquor and mining businesses, being paid to public servants and others every month, a statement from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said. So far, total unaccounted transactions amounting to ₹150 crore have been uncovered in the raids on a group of individuals, hawala dealers and businessmen, the CBDT added.“Incriminating documents and electronic data seized during the search show that substantial amount of illegal gratification was being paid to public servants and others every month,” said the statement adding that unaccounted bank accounts and transactions have also been found. “Details of benami vehicles, hawala transfers, transfer to Kolkata-based companies and creation of shell companies with huge land bank have also been found and seized.”

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