IT notice served to Karnataka Chief Secretary to furnish details of payments made to contractors for election purposes

A notice was sent to Karnataka Chief Secretary Ms Ratna Prabha by the Income Tax department. According to reports, the I-T department’s notice to the chief secretary states that five government departments in Karnataka had made payments to contractors for ‘election purposes’.

The letter (dated 6th April) that came from the desk of Director General of Income Tax BR Balakrishnan, states that intelligence received by the department indicates that several big payments have been made to  private contractors from some of the departments of the state government during the last quarter of the financial year 2017-18 (January-March) and they are meant to be used for election purposes.

The letter goes on to ask the Chief Secretary to submit details of all the payments (between January- March 2018) made by the departments of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Revenue, Energy, Public works, Water Resources to private contractors whenever the amount paid is above Rs 25 lakhs, along with the details of TDS.

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The letter also asks the Chief Secretary to submit details of payments to the same contractors in the previous financial year (2016-17).

According to reports, the Chief Secretary has stated that they received the communique late on Friday and her officials will submit the details by Tuesday.

Congress spokespersons including Priyanka Chaturvedi and Brijesh Kalappa have called it BJP’s vindictive politics.

The events took a surprising turn later when an earlier tweet by Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Veerappa Moily was revealed. The tweet stated that the Congress cannot afford to have the nexus between road contractors and state PWD determine how candidates are selected in the upcoming elections. Moily had deleted the tweet but it had already been picked up. The BJP called it as ‘astonishing revelation’.

Speculations are rife in the state that taxpayers money has been diverted to contractors by the state machinery to gain electoral favours. Earlier, we reported how Congress and JDS MLA’s were caught on camera distributing freebies to influence voters in Karnataka.

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