A Janata Dal (United) (JD-U) leader in Bihar generated political controversy on Monday by alleging that last week’s income tax raids and searches against contractors at different places in Bihar were made on the instructions of top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.
The JD(U) leader in context is himself a contractor entrusted with different pet projects of chief minister Nitish Kumar, including the Jal Nal Yojna, which promises drinking water in every household and proper drainage in every village under the chief minister’s ‘saat nischay’ (seven resolves) scheme.
However, BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav has denied the charge and claimed all prescribed norms were followed.
“Honesty and transparency are the two pillars of the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in Bihar. The I-T department initiated action after complaints were received by the authorities,” he said.
Ravi Chaurasiya, general secretary of the youth wing of the JD(U) and managing director of a construction company, has also alleged the I-T raids were conducted on the instructions of some top BJP leaders.
He alleged the I-T department authorities of misbehaving with his wife and children. The officials from Dhanbad, Muzaffarpur, Patna, and Gaya had searched the offices and residential premises of the contractor.
Chaurasiya had started work in Gaya 13 years back in 2007 and had since then been in the construction business. He said that he was an honest taxpayer and if this harassment continues, he would have no choice but to migrate to another state.
Chaurasiya is considered close to the JD(U) MLA from Gaya, a fact which had its consequences in the BJP harassing him on purpose, his friends alleged.
Income-tax raids were also conducted at the residences and offices of other contractors associated with the Jal Nal Yojna in Bhagalpur, Hilsa, Hanuman Nagar, Digha, Patliputra Colony, Frazer Road, Katihar and Gaya.
Business premises of two government contractors of the scheme at Purnia were also raided during the last two days.
IT officials claimed to have recovered Rs 3.21 crores in cash during the raids and found evidence of unaccounted money amounting to Rs 75 crores.
Tejaswhi Prasad Yadav, the chief ministerial candidate of the Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance), said that the recoveries were only “the tip of the iceberg” and that these confirmed his allegations of large-scale corruption in the implementation of the scheme.
LJP president Chirag Paswan, who had been alleging misuse of central funds in the Nal-Jal-Kal scheme, said the searches were done after the I-T department received confirmed reports of tax evasion and irregularities in the implementation of the scheme.
If the LJP-BJP government came to power, Chirag threatened, an investigation would be launched on the implementation of the scheme and that the officers and the chief minister would be prosecuted if found guilty of misappropriation of funds.