Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday claimed that there was no political vendetta behind the raids conducted on Opposition leaders and their aides. In a Facebook blog, he said that claims of vendetta are never a legitimate defence in corruption.
“It has become a routine practice to call any action against corruption as political vendetta,” Jaitley wrote. “Those who commit such large acts of corruption have to be judged on the merits of the action itself.”
Jaitley’s blog comes in the wake of Income Tax or Enforcement Directorate raids on Telugu Desam Party leaders in Andhra Pradesh, in Congress-Janata Dal (Secular)-ruled Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s aide Praveen Kakkad, and a Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader in Tamil Nadu.
Jaitley said public money was being siphoned off in both Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. “In the public space evidence has come in relation to Karnataka where allocations made for public welfare to the Public Works Departments were being round-tripped by engineers for a political purpose,” he wrote. “In Madhya Pradesh, an institutional mechanism has been created where money that is meant for development and social welfare of the weaker sections are now being channelled into politics.”
Jaitley hit out at the Congress in particular. “This is the hypocrisy of Indian politics,” he said. “After inflicting such injustice they have the audacity to speak of Nyay [justice].” NYAY also happens to be the abbreviation for the Congress’ proposed minimum income guarantee scheme.
The Opposition has criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party for these raids, and alleged that investigative agencies were being misused during election time. They have also asked why no BJP leader was being raided. To this, Jaitley wrote: “Is there a Right to Equality that no action can be taken till the opponents are charged? Revenue Departments act objectively on the basis of material available and take action when they are satisfied that a case of search operation is made out.”