A report in the Caravan set off a political storm on Friday, with both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party preserving press meetings to trade expenses. The tale claimed that an Income Tax officer had written to Union Minister Arun Jaitley asking whether or not the department should investigate a diary that becomes allegedly kept with the aid of former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa in which the particular large payoffs made to senior BJP leaders and others.
Yeddyurappa has denied the allegations and claims that the diary turned into fabricated. The Congress, but, argued that there had been enough records for research to be completed. It stated that the newly appointed Lokpal need to do it. The Central Board of Direct Taxation, which runs the Income Tax department, additionally issued an announcement, pronouncing that it had undoubtedly investigated the diary and determined not anything enormous in it.
With elections across the nook, the expenses will be used to attain political factors especially against the BJP, which claims that it runs a clean operation in comparison to the corruption taint that delivered down the previous Congress-led government. But there are some unanswered questions.
Here’s a short explainer.
What does the Caravan story say?
The story alleges that the Income Tax branch is in ownership of diaries maintained through Yeddyurappa wherein he lists out, in as many phrases, payoffs allegedly made to various BJP leaders, such as Union Ministers Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, and Nitin Gadkari. According to the document, the diaries check with alleged payments made in 2009. The record additionally includes the scan of one report, in Kannada, that has the particular numbers: Rs 1,000 crore to the BJP’s Central Committee, Rs 150 crore every to Gadkari and Jaitley, Rs 250 crore to judges and so forth. According to Caravan, each web page of the record is signed via Yeddyurappa.
What did Yeddyurappa say?
The BJP chief made a quick statement to the clicking claiming that the documents were substantial, and said that he could file a defamation case towards the Congress for false fees.
F real, why could he keep a report like this?
The story shows that Yeddyurappa wrote these entries at some point of the length while he had damaged far from the BJP. In 2011, after Karnataka’s anti-corruption watchdog indicted him in a case related to alleged kickbacks, Yeddyurappa needed to step down as chief minister and turned into dismissed from the BJP as correctly. The article mentions that local media said on a turf war among Yeddyurappa and Karnataka BJP leaders at the time, which might also give an explanation for why Yeddyurappa had this sort of document.
How did the Income Tax office get it?
According to the story, the Income Tax branch observed the diaries amongst papers that have been seized from the house of Congress leader DK Shivakumar in raids performed in 2017. Shivakumar turned into raided at the time he became attempting to preserve Congress MLAs together inside the aftermath of a fractured verdict following state elections in Karnataka and looking to prevent them from being poached using the BJP.
This a part of the story turned into later showed by using the Central Board of Direct Taxation in its launch, which said all through the raid on Shivakumar, “some unfastened papers were given to the raiding celebration. They were a Xerox reproduction of Karnataka Legislative Assembly, Legislator’s Diary pages of 2009 with details of numerical entries in opposition to a few personal names.”
What else do I need to know?
A vital component of the Caravan tale is the allegation that a senior profits tax legitimate wrote to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, providing information about the case and asking whether or not further investigations have to be accomplished. The unsigned be aware allegedly consists of a few probably incendiary details. At one factor, for example, it reportedly said that the IT branch “protected the pursuits of the BJP leaders. Since this count is hooked up to the BJP leaders of Karnataka and also in Delhi, no further investigation has been achieved till date.” It additionally claimed that BJP country full leaders have been attempting to use the IT department to interrupt the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) authorities in Karnataka.
It asks whether the “authentic diary” have to be procured and a case ought to be filed for research with the aid of the Enforcement Directorate or another suitable employer, and says “felony opinion is sought.” The I-T branch features below the Finance Ministry, which Jaitley heads. According to the Caravan file, Jaitley – whose own call allegedly turns up in the diaries – did now not respond and no research was completed.
How has the government replied to this allegation?
Neither the Central Board of Direct Taxation nor the Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad of their statements about the issue referred to the letter through the senior income tax legit.
The CBDT declaration, however, disputes the concept that no research was executed. Instead, it claims that the documents have been a part of “loose papers” that the raiding birthday celebration found in Shivakumar’s residence.
It additionally mentions details about what occurred afterward:
The department claims it questioned Shivakumar approximately the papers, to which he stated he received the documents since, as a flesh-presser, he procured facts about different politicians and parties.
When requested why he did no longer take the papers to the government, the CBDT claimed that Shivakumar said, “As he did no longer realize approximately the genuineness of the said unfastened sheets, he did no longer tell the equal to enforcement companies.”
The branch claims it additionally puzzled Yeddyurappa approximately the papers. The BJP leader, in step with the CBDT account, stated he isn’t inside the addiction of keeping a diary, and denied that it changed into his handwriting or signatures on the sheets.
“He also furnished a pattern of his handwriting to verify the genuineness of the stated unfastened sheets,” it said.
The department additionally said it sent the sheets to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Hyderabad, but those couldn’t be tested as they were not “inauthentic,” and Shivakumar did not deliver any original files.
“It is obvious that for a forensic analysis of the disputed writings to establish its evidentiary fee, originals of the same are required. All efforts had been made by way of the Income Tax Office worried you got the originals of the disputed writings. However, the information about the place and custody of the original writings and, if the different writings exist, are not available. The same free sheets prima-facie looked like of a problematic nature and were given by way of the individual that becomes being raided for tax violations.”
It is uncertain in which this is going from right here. The Central Board of Direct Taxation has already claimed it made “each attempt” to study the record and found it to be “of a doubtful nature.” And since the “original” diary is unlikely to show up, the matter is in all likelihood to stay at this stage, with allegations on one side and a denial from the other. The case might even turn up in the Supreme Court, however thinking about its choice on the Sahara Birla papers, which additionally involved “loose papers,” it may no longer endorse further investigation.
A few questions do arise:
Is this “unsigned cover be aware” from a senior Income Tax legitimate to Jaitley genuine? Will the government, or the minister, affirm or deny having acquired this kind of be aware?
Will this unnamed Income Tax respectable talk up approximately the problem?
What does the Income Tax department meanwhile it says “all efforts” had been made you obtain the originals? What investigation did it perform? Did it is looking for to fit the motion of cash?
Why did DK Shivakumar now not take the papers to the authorities or the click? If the Congress is convinced approximately the matter now, why became it unconvinced earlier? What changed? (The Caravan story indicates Shivakumar did not, due to the fact his “relationship with Yeddyurappa become precise,” in step with the IT official’s word).