Latching on to an order from I-T settlement authority giving relief to Sahara Group, Rahul Gandhi on Thursday demanded an inquiry into Sahara diaries asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi why he fears such a probe.
“Immunity for Sahara or immunity for Modiji? If your conscience is clear Modiji why fear investigation?”, the Congress Vice President tweeted.
Gandhi’s tweet came close on the heels of a media report which said Income Tax Settlement Commission (ITSC) has granted Sahara immunity from prosecution and penalty following raids conducted on November 2014 during which the purported “diaries” listing alleged pay-offs to politicians were recovered.
Significantly, the ITSC has concurred with Sahara’s claim that the “evidentiary value” of the “loose sheets” recovered during the raids “could not be proved” by the Income Tax Department, according to the report.
The report claimed that the order showed that the ITSC had earlier rejected the application of the company and then on September 5, 2016 re-admitted it.
Gandhi had alleged a fortnight back that Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister had taken money from Sahara and Birla groups and had demanded an independent inquiry into it, a charge BJP rejected as an attempt to divert attention from AgustaWestland probe in which the names of Congress leaders and the “family” were coming up.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alleged attempts to scuttle inquiries against himself proved he took bribes from Sahara.
“Not Sahara but Modi ji who gets immunity. He recd bribes from Sahara. Modiji scuttling all enquiries against him. Proves he took bribes,” Kejriwal said in a tweet Thursday in response to The Indian Express report on how the Income Tax Settlement Commission (ITSC) in one of its quickest orders granted Sahara India immunity from prosecution and penalty after November, 2014 raids threw up ‘diaries’ listing alleged payoffs to politicians.
“Shocking. Modi ji misuses CBI to frame his political opponents but gets himself immunity without any investigation,” Kejriwal said in another tweet.
The Delhi chief minister and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi citing the Sahara ‘diaries’ had alleged that PM Modi received payoffs from Sahara when he was the Gujarat chief minister. The BJP had dismissed the claims.
Fresh affidavit filed in Sahara-Birla raids case
‘Common Cause’, an NGO, on Thursday filed a fresh affidavit in the Supreme Court seeking a court- monitored SIT investigation into the raids on two business houses in 2013-14 after which bribery allegations have been made against against politicians including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
‘Common Cause’, which has repeatedly been asked by the court to come up with credible material in support of its bribery allegations, on Thursday filed several documents, including some e-mails, as annexures to its affidavit. It claimed that the fresh material pertained to CBI raid on Aditya-Birla Group office and the Income Tax raid on the premises of Sahara group and subsequent investigations.
A bench headed by by Justice Khehar had last month questioned the NGO and its lawyer Prashant Bhushan whether aspersions could be cast against the prime minister without placing “sufficient”, “firm” and “clear” materials.
It had also said that the PIL was based on “zero material” and was only making “insinuations” and asked Bhushan to come out with credible material for the court to consider.
The NGO’s additional affidavit on Thursday said, “The following facts make out a clear case: 1) Raids were conducted by the CBI on the Birla Group and by the Income Tax Department on the Sahara Group, 2) Huge unaccounted amounts of cash was recovered in the raids, 3) Diaries, notebook, hand written papers, computer documents were recovered in the raid, 4) The information gathered shows bribery of politicians and civil servants.”