IT raids premises of MP CM’s OSD, others; seizes cash

In a major crackdown on hawala money, Income Tax Department teams on Sunday carried out raids at over 50 places in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore and Bhopal, including the residence of Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s Officer on special duty Praveen Kakkar, and in New Delhi and seized a huge amount of cash.

A senior IT department source told IANS: “About 300 IT Department personnel from New Delhi were given the task after receiving a credible information about the hawala money.”

The IT officials raided Kakkar’s office on the sixth floor of Platinum Plaza building and his residence in Nadir Colony in Bhopal. Kakkar’s house and office in Indore were also searched, sources said.

Kakkar, an ex-police officer and the President’s Medal recipient, had also served as OSD to former Union Minister Kanti Lal Bhuria.

Similarly, the residence of NGO manager Ashwini Sharma on Platinum Plaza’s fourth floor was also searched. The official also identified luxury cars reportedly belonging to Sharma.

It was for the first time that the IT teams were accompanied by Central Reserve Police Force troopers.

The source said that the searches are linked to suspected movement of hawala money during the ongoing polls season and tax evasion.

Sources said that besides Kakkar and Sharma, premises of Kamal Nath’s former adviser Rajendra Miglani and executives linked to his brother-in-law’s firm Moser Bayer and his nephew Ratul Puri’s company were also searched.

The sources said that the documents seized during the searches were being scrutinised in detail and then it will summon officials later for questioning.

Official sources also said that searches were also being conducted against Kolkata-based businessman Paras Mal Lodha.

Last week, Puri was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in the national capital in connection with the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland chopper deal case.

The source said that the IT Department also got tips from Puri’s questioning and thus planned a series of raids in the state.