Polls cash case: EC to call top MP officials to seek progress report

The Election Commission would call top officials of the Madhya Pradesh government early next month to apprise it on its orders to lodge “criminal action” against three IPS officers and others whose alleged role in the use of black money during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls came to the fore after the I-T Department raided close aides of former chief minister Kamal Nath.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora made it clear that the officials would “not be summoned” but called by the Commission.
“The Commission would call the chief secretary and the home secretary of Madhya Pradesh before January 10 to discuss what steps have been taken… They would be called to apprise (the Election Commission) about the progress made,” Arora told PTI on Tuesday.
On December 16, the poll panel had issued a statement, saying that it has asked the Madhya Pradesh chief electoral officer to lodge “criminal action” against three Indian Police Service officers and others whose alleged role in the use of black money during the 2019 general elections came to the fore after the Income Tax Department raided close aides of Nath.
The Commission has also asked the Union Home secretary to initiate “appropriate departmental action” against the IPS officers and also asked the Madhya Pradesh chief secretary to undertake a “similar action” against a state police service officer.
The poll body had said it was recommending action after it “deliberated” upon a report sent to it by the CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxes) intimating it about the Income Tax Department’s “search operations in Madhya Pradesh and its findings of extensive use of unaccounted cash during the 2019 general elections”.
The CBDT is the administrative authority for the I-T Department.
An EC statement said the CBDT report informed the Commission about certain entities and individuals who were engaged in “unauthorised and unaccounted cash contributions to individuals on behalf of a certain political party, which was reported to be corroborated during searches against persons by the tax department”.
While the EC did not name the party, it has been widely reported that the CBDT report referred to the Congress.
“The report specifically mentions instances of prima facie involvement/nexus of public or government servants in unauthorised or unaccounted cash transactions,” the statement said.
It said the EC has directed to forward the copy of the October 28 CBDT report “to the Chief Electoral Officer, Madhya Pradesh, to lodge criminal action before designated authority, which is the Madhya Pradesh economic offences wing, against concerned for the violation as per extant electoral and other relevant laws”.
Election Commission sources identified the three IPS officers as Sushovan Banerjee, Sanjay Mane, V Madhu Kumar and state police service officer as Arun Mishra.
The tax department had conducted raids at 52 locations in Madhya Pradesh and Delhi in April last year and those searched included Nath’s former officer on special duty (OSD) Pravin Kakkar, adviser Rajendra Miglani, Ashwani Sharma, executives linked to his brother-in-law’s firm Moser Baer, a company of his nephew Ratul Puri and others.
The CBDT, on April 8 last year, had said in a statement that tax sleuths recovered Rs 14.6 crore “unaccounted” cash and seized diaries and computer files of suspect payments after the raids.
It said the department detected a trail of Rs 20 crore suspect cash allegedly being moved to the “headquarter of a major political party in Delhi”.
“Searches in Madhya Pradesh have detected widespread and well-organised racket of collection of unaccounted cash of about Rs 281 crore through various persons in different walks of life, including business, politics and public service.
“A part of the cash was also transferred to the headquarter of a major political party in Delhi, including about Rs 20 crore, which was moved through hawala recently to the headquarter of the political party from the residence of a senior functionary at Tughlak Road, New Delhi,” the CBDT had said.
While the CBDT had neither identified the political party nor the senior functionary, Nath had earlier said the action against his aides was politically motivated.