New Delhi: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the ongoing "politically motivated" raids in parts of the state by the Income Tax department, terming the action as an affront to the idea of cooperative federalism.
In a letter to the prime minister, Baghel said it is an intriguing coincidence that the timings of these raids coincide with the decision of the state government to initiate criminal investigations into the alleged acts of corruption committed under the previous BJP government. The I-T department has been conducting multiple raids in Chhattisgarh since February 27.
"May I respectfully point out that the actions of finance/home ministries of the Government of India are nothing short of an affront to the idea of cooperative federalism that you have often spoken about," the chief minister of the Congress-ruled state said. He said the action reflects "coercive and insecure centrism".
"The actions of the agencies of Government of India border on political vendetta on one hand and threaten the very core of our democracy on the other," he said in the letter.
Baghel questioned the "unconstitutional" use of CRPF personnel, which are to be used only for "emergencies" and exceptional circumstances, during the raids.
Asserting that law and order is a state subject and central forces cannot be deployed in a state without its consent and prior intimation, he said, "If each one of us fails to adhere to this cardinal principle of our constitutional democracy, we would become an undemocratic anarchy."
Baghel said raids have been conducted in a clandestine, cloak-and-dagger manner without any information being provided to the state government or to the state police.
"The central government's deployment of a central force to assist in motivated income tax raids undermines every word of Dr Ambedkar's caveat and the constitution scheme laid out in List II of the seventh schedule of the Constitution," he said.
"I take this opportunity to reiterate the availability of the police machinery or any other assistance in the quest to find and prosecute the corrupt," the chief minister said in the letter.