I-T raids unearth Rs281-cr cash trail in poll-bound MP

Income tax officials following the trail of unaccounted cash in Madhya Pradesh have raided several properties belonging to businessmen, politicians and people related to other public services and have stuck upon a Rs281-crore “cash collection” racket by a major political party.

Reports quoting sources close to the development said that searches by the Delhi Directorate of Income Tax on Monday detected a "wide spread", "organised" racket of unaccounted cash.
"A part of the cash was also transferred to the headquarters of a major political party in Delhi, including about Rs20 crore, which was moved through hawala recently to the headquarters of the political party from the residence of a senior functionary at Delhi's Tughlak Road," news agency ANI said quoting sources.
Unaccounted cash of Rs14.6 crore, 252 bottles of liquor, few arms and hide-skins of tiger were also found. 
Further, ANI said, searches in Delhi in the group of a close relative of the senior functionary have further led to the seizure of "incriminating evidence, including cash book recording unaccounted transactions of Rs230 crore, siphoning off money through bogus billing of more than Rs242 crore and evidence of more than 80 companies in tax havens." 
The CBDT said several unaccounted/benami properties at posh locations in Delhi have also been detected. It said these "instances of violations of the model code of conduct are being brought to the notice of the Election Commission".
The department had on Sunday launched pre-dawn raids at 52 locations of people and associates linked to Nath.
Reports citing sources said there is a "strong possibility" of the cash recovered during the operation being used to fund political campaigns and bribe voters in the poll-bound state and in Delhi.
The development comes even as the Income Tax department's searches against close aides of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath and others continued.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission on Sunday asked enforcement agencies to be impartial and inform it about any searches and seizures in advance. 
"The Election Commission strongly advises that all enforcement actions during the election period, even when conducted ruthlessly with a view to curb the blatant electoral malpractice (of using money power to influence voter behaviour), be absolutely neutral, impartial and non-discriminatory. Further, in case of suspected use of such illicit money for electoral purposes, the Chief Electoral Officer should be kept suitably informed while the Model Code of Conduct is in force," according to a letter issued by the EC to investigation agencies.