IT dept points out "substantial increase" in politicians' assets to SC

IT dept points out

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is investigating seven Lok Sabha MPs and 98 MLAs for "substantial increases" in their assets, after a preliminary investigation by the Income Tax Department brought the matter to light.

The Supreme Court was hearing a plea by NGO Lok Prahari on the income and assets disclosed by candidates contesting elections to Parliament and state assemblies while filing nominations.

The affidavit comes after the court made several stinging remarks about how the government machinery is not very forthcoming when it comes to revealing details of the mercurial increase in assets of politicians and lawmakers. However, the CBDT is expected to provide to SC in sealed cover on Tuesday names of MPs and MLAs who increased assets hugely.

The CBDT said it received responses from the Directors General of Income Tax (Investigation) concerning the verification of the assets of 26 Lok Sabha MPs, 215 MLAs and two Rajya Sabha MPs in the list. All that was needed to be checked was whether the rise in assets were bought using known sources of income.

The CBDT informed that the inquiry is underway by the Income Tax department against 20 MPs including nine Lok Sabha members and 42 MLAs. The apex court had directed the government to place necessary information in this regard before the court, but the government has not complied with this.

Of the 257 MLAs, 98 found to have substantially increased their assets and are being further probed, the affidavit also stated. It had called for a separate column in the nomination form seeking details of the sources of income.

"Given that revenue augmentation is the primary concern of the IT department and since increasingly the department is Graduating towards non-intrusive methods, the verification of election affidavits is carried out in respect of specific category of such cases as per agreed parameter between ECI and CBDT", it said.

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