EC Reprimands Revenue Department's 'Insolent' Counter Advisory over I-T Raids
The EC in its rejoinder letter 'expressed 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 the Department'.
People walk past the Election Commission of India office building in New Delhi (REUTERS)
New Delhi: The Election Commission of India has reprimanded the Department of Revenue for its response to the poll body on the April 7 advisory which directed it to "to keep concerned Chief Electoral Officers in the loop during raids by IT/ED and DRI agencies."
Rebuking the Department for "insolently" issuing a counter advisory, the EC in its rejoinder letter titled ‘Impartial conduct of enforcement actions’, said, “The Election Commission of India expresses 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 by the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance vide letter dated 08.04.19.”
The Election Commission's response to the Department of Revenue
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora had told News18 that the Election Commission’s advisory on carrying out Income Tax raids just days ahead of the 2019 elections was aimed at ensuring that while action is taken “ruthlessly” against corruption, the raids are carried out without any bias.
“There are some fundamental things, while others need to be repeated. We sent an advisory on the issue of use of armed forces in campaigning and then on I-T raids as there were media reports (about bias). We felt the need to emphasise that while such raids should be carried out ruthlessly, they should not be without bias and not become a political witch-hunt,” Arora said.
However, in its response, the revenue department had said, "Since it is the responsibility of the Election Commission as also of the revenue agencies to check and eventually eliminate the use of unaccounted money in election, we would also like to urge the Election Commission to advise its field officers involved in the enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct to take immediate enforcement action at their end.”
The Revenue Department's letter to the Election Commission
The Department’s letter by Deputy Secretary Arvind Saran further said, "They (field officers) may also, if deemed fit, pass on the information confidentially to Income Tax Department for Tax Department for taking further necessary action.”
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