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Internecine war ravages MP

Two recent events may cause serious difficulty and embarrassment for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Madhya Pradesh. The first, relates to the resignation of Raghavji Bhai, the state’s finance minister in the wake of serious allegations of sexually exploiting his male servant. The other issue is of the state high court’s verdict which declared the disciplinary action taken against Rajesh Rajora, a senior IAS officer, as null and void. Rajora was suspended following a raid by the Income Tax (IT) department at his residence. The high court held that the IT department raided the residence of Rajora to take revenge. A top official of the IT department was upset with Rajora who denied the allotment of a government bungalow to him. Rajora was the home secretary at that time.
The MP high court has quashed the IT department’s warrant of authorisation and thereby the search and seizure proceedings initiated against Rajora, citing insufficient material available on record. A division bench, comprising of acting chief Justice K K Lahoti and Justice M A Siddiqui said, ‘We have examined the entire proceedings and documents which are the basis for issuance of warrant of authorisation and ultimately the seizure memo and find that the entire action initiated by the IT department was without any sufficient ground or material.’ The court said, ‘It appears that because of dispute over allotment of house, the respondents (IT department officials) issued warrant of authorisation and consequently search on the premises of the petitioner was conducted.’
Meanwhile, Rajesh Rajora and his wife Sameeta moved the high court challenging the IT department’s search and seizure carried out at their official residence on 30 May 2008. Reacting sharply after the high court verdict, the state IAS officers’ association held an emergency meeting and demanded prosecution of Income Tax officials. The association also decided to write to the union cabinet secretary and the union finance secretary seeking strict action against the IT officials who conducted raids without any concrete evidence. Association president Aruna Sharma told the media, ‘We will take the matter to a logical end’. The association members were highly upset over the manner in which the IT officials tried to insult and humiliate an IAS officer on flimsy ground only because a high-ranking IT official felt aggrieved over delay in allotment of a government house to him.

The association also decided to write to the state government to do away with the departmental inquiry against Rajora and release his salary of the suspension period. The association has decided to request the state government to apprise the Prime Minister’s office of the matter and request it to initiate appropriate action against the guilty IT officials. Meanwhile, Rajora filed a complaint against the Income Tax officers, who had resided his house five years ago. In an application to the police, Rajora sought registration of criminal cases against the IT officers for fabricating evidence in order to book him in a case of holding unaccounted wealth.

The decision of the IAS officers’ association and of Rajora to file a complaint demanding criminal proceedings caused angry reaction among the officers and employee of the IT department. The Director General (Investigation) Income Tax, Ameredra Tiwary, in a strongly worded statement, said the department would not stoop to the level of commenting on every statement irresponsibly. ‘We will maintain our elegance and grace’. Tiwary said his department is mulling over legal options.
‘Come what may, we will take the case to its logical end, unperturbed by any interruption, deliberate, intentional or unintentional,’ said Tiwary. IPA


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