Madhya Pradesh I-T raids: Kamal Nath, Shivraj Singh Chouhan trade barbs over CRPF-state police clash

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Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath and former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan traded barbs amid reports that the state police and Central Reserve Police Force personnel entered into an argument during Income Tax raids in the state.

Nath alleged that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was misusing state bodies against opponents. “It will be appropriate to comment only when the situation regarding the I-T raids is clear but the entire country knows as to how and against whom they have been using constitutional bodies for the past five years,” he said in a statement issued on Sunday evening, according to the Hindustan Times. “They use these bodies to frighten (others). When they have nothing to say on development, they use such sinister design against opponents.”

Nath said the BJP has resorted to such action to “draw advantage in the election” as it was facing an imminent defeat. Nath claimed the ruling party had adopted “similar tactics” during the Assembly elections last year. “We were also prepared for the same,” he said. “There should be impartial inquiry into everything. This is not going to affect us.”

The Income Tax Department on Sunday conducted raids at the Indore home of Praveen Kakkad, an officer on special duty to Nath. Reports said that central forces and the state police entered into an argument outside the house of Ashwin Sharma, who is Kakkad’s associate. A Central Reserve Police Force official said the state police were not letting them work, while police claimed they were trying to help people in the residential complex.

Madhya Pradesh’s Director General of Police, VK Singh, said there were no signs of police interfering with the Income Tax raids. “But there have been reactions which could have led to a law and order issue and law and order issue can be handled only by the state police because only it’s empowered to do so,” he said, according to Hindustan Times.

Chouhan claimed that Nath was trying to save the corrupt by stopping the proceedings of the Income Tax Department. “I-T department is doing its work, it’s their constitutional right,” he told ANI. “CRPF soldiers were on duty. They were being stopped. MP [Madhya Pradesh] Police clashed with CRPF. Is this not an attempt to save corrupt? What Mamata ji did in West Bengal, the same game is being played in MP,” he said.

When asked about allegations that the Income Tax raids were done at the behest of the BJP, Chouhan said: “Did the BJP keep the cash there? I have seen in media reports that cash is being recovered. Documents are found. Properties are unearthed.”

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