In an embarrassment to the Modi government, the Election Commission on Wednesday denied having issued any directions to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) or the Income-Tax Department to probe the poll affidavit filed by National Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar.
In a press note, it said: "The Election Commission of India has not issued any such direction to the CBDT to issue notice to Shri Pawar."
The income-tax department can take up the issue of false income details in a poll affidavit filed by a candidate only on the direction of the Election Commission.
It shall have to explain now how it went on to issue the notices to Pawar, his daughter Supriya Sule, a Lok Sabha member, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his minister son Aaditya Thackeray.
The CBDT operates under the Finance Ministry and may have to further explain whether it ordered the probe or directed the income-tax department to issue the notices.