IT raids cause political mud-slinging in MP

The recent raids by Income Tax officials on two prominent businessmen have led to a political storm in the state.

Bhopal: The recent raids by Income Tax officials on two prominent businessmen, who are said to have close links with the ruling BJP in Madhya Pradesh, have led to a political storm in the state.

Premises of two businessmen Dilip Singh Suryavanshi and Sudhir Sharma were raided last month for allegedly amassing wealth during the BJP rule in the state since 2003.

Suryavanshi has been said to be close to state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and this thing is being highlighted by opposition Congress.

The turnover of companies owned by Suryavanshi was Rs 13 crore eight years back, which is now said to have reached Rs 5,000 crore. Sudhir Sharma, who was a teacher in Vidisha, now has a turnover of Rs 1,100 crore.

While Suryavanshi is a builder and road contractor, Sharma is a mining magnet.

Leader of Opposition in Assembly Ajay Singh recently came out with a set of 11 questions, in the form of newspaper advertisements, related to the raids and wealth accumulated by the duo, and sought their answers from the Chief Minister.

At a press conference held earlier, Ajay also displayed pictures showing Suryavanshi with Chouhan and Sudhir Sharma and Suryavanshi with Baba Ramdev.

When a reporter said the pictures could have been morphed, Singh said if this were so, then he should be sent to jail.

On June 29, Congress leader Digvijay Singh also sought Team Anna`s cooperation in exposing two the businessmen.

In a letter to social activist Anna Hazare, Digvijay said the questions had been directed at Chouhan but since the Gandhian was fighting against corruption, he and his team should help in getting their answers from the government.

"I do not hope to get any reply from Chouhan," Singh said.

Among other issues, Ajay sought to know if Chouhan had any links with Suryavanshi whose business turnover went up from a mere Rs 13 crore to a whopping Rs 5,000 crore since 2003 (when BJP came to power in Madhya Pradesh).

He also asked Chouhan to explain how Suryavanshi, who owned 12 dumpers in 2003, now has 1,820 trucks.

The Congress in the state has been critical of Chouhan for his total silence on the raids.

However, the state government`s official spokesman said there was nothing on which Chouhan should comment.

The spokesman said newspapers were these days carrying reports about the raids conducted at the premises of the two businessmen, but the IT department had not sent any official communication to the state government.

He said a proper comment on the raids would be made only after the state government received some official statement from the IT officials about them.