Jaipur/New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) As the political crisis in Rajasthan was playing out in the open for the Congress, the Income Tax and Enforcement Directorate teams on Monday raided multiple premises connected with people from Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s camp.
According to IT Department officials, the team involving over 200 officials carried out searches at over 22 locations in Delhi, Rajasthan and Mumbai.
According to an IT department official, searches were conducted in the offices of veteran state Congress leaders, including Rajeev Arora and Dharmendra Rathod, considered close to the Chief Minister.
Unaccounted cash, jewellery, property papers, and lockers were seized.
The team also reached Bhilwara and Jhalawad to carry out searches, officials said.
In wake of the income tax officials’ searches, the Congress postponed its legislature party meeting by a few hours, while the party’s state whip Mahesh Joshi and national media incharge Randeep Singh Surjewala hit out at the BJP for “misusing investigative agencies for its self-fulfilling goals”.
According to IT department sources, searches were also carried out at four locations in Delhi, including three residential premises located in the Sainik Farm area of one of the Kothari brothers, who once was awarded a mega irrigation project in Rajasthan and faced complaints of irregularities in dam construction, and at the office premises of Om Metals Infra Projects Ltd in Saket area.
Meanwhile, the ED team also carried out searches at Hotel Fairmont in Jaipur. According to ED sources, investor Ratan Kant Sharma, a close aide of Ashok Gehlot’s son Vaibhav Gehlot, is under the financial probe agency’s scanner.
An ED source claimed that Sharma had received around Rs 96.7 crore from Mauritius and has stakes in Hotel Fairmont.
The ED source claimed that Sharma and Vaibhav Gehlot are business partners.
Sharma was summoned by the ED four days ago. The agency suspects that large-scale overseas transactions have taken place.
A political crisis erupted in Rajasthan after Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot ‘revolted’ against the leadership of Ashok Gehlot.