The Income Tax Department searched Telugu Desam Party lawmaker Jayadev Galla’s offices in Guntur on Tuesday. Galla is the party’s candidate for the Guntur Lok Sabha constituency.
Galla, who had initiated the no-confidence motion against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Parliament last year, protested the searches along with other Telugu Desam Party leaders in Guntur’s Pattabhipuram, NDTV reported. “Why I am being targeted? Why is the TDP being targeted?” he asked. “This is a deliberate attempt by Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] to influence the polls. Moving towards state of Emergency and fascism.”
Jayadev is the managing director of the Amara Raja Group and is one of the richest politicians in Andhra Pradesh, The News Minute reported. During the 2014 General Elections, he had declared assets worth over Rs 680 crore.
Party spokesperson Lanka Dinakar told ANI that the income tax officials should not conduct such raids without proper intimation to the Election Commission. “We don’t know whether these raids are happening with EC’s approval or just on instructions of Modi-led government as per orders given by [YSR Congress Party chief] Jagan Mohan Reddy,” he alleged.
However, on Wednesday evening, the Income Tax Department denied it had conducted any search on a Telugu Desam Party parliamentarian in Andhra Pradesh, reports said. The Central Board of Direct Taxes said that it received a tip-off that cash was kept at the home of cost accountant Gurappa Naidu, which “was to be used in the election”.
The CBDT clarified that no premise of Jayadav Galla was searched, Mint reported. “It was only at the time of recording his [Naidu’s] statement late in the night that he revealed that he was giving services to Galla Jayadaev, MP, TDP also in his capacity as a cost accountant. During the course of search, cash of Rs 45.4 lakhs was seized being unexplained,” the department said in a statement.
Earlier on Tuesday, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had dismissed the Opposition’s allegations that there is a political vendetta behind Income Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate raids on its leaders and their aides. In an interview with ANI, Singh said: “It is unfair to hold the government responsible for the raids. This is an ongoing process. Agencies act on their own intelligence inputs.”
The Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19, and the results announced on May 23.