The Election Commission on Wednesday pulled up the Department of Revenue for treating its advisory on enforcement action during the poll season in a “casual and trivial” manner, reported PTI. In its advisory, the poll body had asked the Department of Revenue to be neutral, impartial and non-discriminatory during enforcement action in the election season.
“EC expresses its deep sense of anguish about the casual and trivial manner in which the advisory to be absolutely neutral, impartial and non-discriminatory has been responded to by Department of Revenue,” the Election Commission said. “Instead of detailing the modalities of implementing the advisory, department insolently chose to issue a counter advisory.”
The EC added that the “tone and tenor” was in stark violation of the established protocol. “Therefore, the commission reprimands the Department of Revenue for making unwarranted remarks and expects that the directions issued by the Commission in the said advisory are followed in letter as well as in spirit,” it said.
Income tax or Enforcement Directorate raids have been conducted in recent days onTelugu 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. Opposition parties have alleged that the ruling BJP was using agencies under its control to target them ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
On Sunday, the Election Commission had written to the Finance Ministry advising that all actions by its enforcement agencies during election time should be “absolutely neutral, impartial non-discriminatory”. It also said that the poll body should be kept in the loop about suspected cases of illicit use of money for elections.
In response, the Revenue Department told the poll body on Monday that its operations were based on “actionable intelligence”. “We understand the words ‘neutral’, ‘impartial’ and ‘non-discriminatory’ mean that we must act as and when information is available against anyone, irrespective of political affiliation. This is precisely the practice that the department follows and will continue to do so,” the response reportedly said.