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Indian Express, Times Now try to defend Kamal Nath, lie that BJP knew about the amount in IT raid in advance

Mainstream media playing up Congress' narrative that the IT raids carried out on Kamal Nath's close aide are politically motivated

In the ongoing income tax (IT) raids being conducted across 50 locations connected to Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, till now, unaccounted cash amounting to Rs 281 crore has been detected. While the official figure came through a press release by the Income Tax department last night, the amount Rs 281 crore has been floating in the media as early as Sunday. A PTI copy from Sunday evening mentions that officials had said “documents relating to undisclosed transactions worth Rs 281 crore are being scrutinised and a number of them have been seized”.

Economic Times republished the PTI report which mentioned Rs 281 crore

However, Indian Express while reporting the ongoing raids tried to defend Kamal Nath by claiming that the BJP ‘had an advance estimate’ of the amount, thereby trying to cast aspersions that the IT raids are being carried out on behest of the BJP.

Indian Express front page on April 9

The article states that on Monday morning, hours before the CBDT issued a statement, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya tweeted at 10.53 am, “Madhya Pradesh mein tabaadla express patri sey utarney key karan durghatnagrasth. Jaan ka koi nuksaan nahi lekin 281 crore key maal key nuksaan ka anumaan (The Transfer Express in Madhya Pradesh has derailed. No loss of life, but loss of 281 crore estimated).”

Times Now even goes ahead and says that Vijayvargiya had ‘claimed’ he knew 10 hours before the IT disclosure.

Times Now then questions how did the BJP knew in advance and reads about the 10:53 am tweet of Vijayvargiya which was posted “10 hours before” the CBDT disclosure.

Times Now forgets that while Vijayvargiya tweeted the Rs 281 crore figure before the official CBDT disclosure, it was about 12 hours after their sister organisation Economic Times published a PTI copy with the Rs 281 crore figure in it. Clearly, with Times Group, the left-hand does not know what the right-hand does.

It took us less than a minute to Google and find the PTI copy from Sunday evening which mentioned the Rs 281 crore figure which was quoted by Kailash Vijayvargiya. Indian Express and Times Now missing out on the basic research in a bid to sensationalise news is just an example of shoddy journalism.

I-T officers had conducted searches at the locations of CM’s OSD, and several other locations in Bhopal, Indore, Goa and Delhi. More than 300 officials of the Income Tax department took part in this massive operation.

The raids had revealed that Deepak Puri, the chairman of Moser Baer group and brother-in-law of Kamal Nath, was involved in converting Rs 242 into dollars by raising fake bills. A diary was recovered during the raids, which had revealed the trail of the money.

The Income Tax officials have detected a racket of collection of unaccounted cash through various persons, including businessmen, politicians and bureaucrats. The amount of such unaccounted case detected so far is Rs 281 crore. Unaccounted cash of ₹ 14.6 crore also has been found so far in the raids, along with liquor bottles, arms and hide skins of tiger.

A press release issued by the CBDT said that a part of this amount was transferred to the head office of a major political party located at Tughlaq Road in Delhi, which included Rs 20 crore transferred through hawala route. This amount was moved through a senior functionary of the party.

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