Days ahead of the Assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra, the Congress on Saturday claimed that the Income Tax department had raided the houses of five of its salaried employees, who work in the accounts department at its 24, Akbar Road headquarters, and accused the BJP government of working with “vendetta in mind”.
Sources in the Congress said the house of Mathew Varghese, a cashier in the accounts department at 24, Akbar Road, in Chottanikkara in Kerala was among those raided on Saturday. Varghese has been working with the party office’s accounts department for over four decades.
Congress leaders claimed IT officials went to the house of another AICC employee, mistaking him for his namesake in the accounts department.
Claiming that the accounts department of the party is shut just days ahead of the Assembly elections, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said, “It is election time, we have to give funds to our candidates, we have to spend on publicity, but the accounts section is closed. All our accountants have been summoned. Income Tax people are sitting at their homes.”
Accusing the government of targeting the Opposition, Sharma said, “This government... works with vendetta in mind, selectively identifying and targeting its political opponents. It is not only the Indian National Congress and its leaders; in recent years, it goes across political parties but only those parties which are opposed to them — whether it is the Trinamool Congress, TDP, BSP or SP, the list is long.”
Talking to reporters at the AICC headquarters, Sharma said, “Now they have stooped to a new low using the agencies to target the employees, salaried employees of the largest opposition party. These are salaried employees. These are not big sharks. On one hand, the government promotes crony capitalism, it empties the country’s coffers, ruins the RBI’s contingency reserves, and on the other hand, it targets political opponents.”
The Congress also took out a march to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s residence to protest against the raids.
In the midst of Lok Sabha elections in April, the IT department had conducted raids in Madhya Pradesh and claimed to have uncovered a Rs 281-crore racket involving people in business, politics and public service. A part of the cash, it had said then, was also transferred to the headquarters of a major political party in Delhi.