An Income Tax department raid on one Ashwini Sharma who is said to be close to the Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath’s OSD Praveen Kakkar in Bhopal sparked a face-off between a CRPF contingent and the local police on Sunday which escalated into war of words between the CM and his predecessor Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Kamal Nath in a statement in the evening said, “It will be appropriate to comment only when the situation regarding the IT raids is clear but the entire country knows as to how and against whom they have been using constitutional bodies for the past 5 years. They use these bodies to frighten (others). When they have nothing to say on development they use such sinister design against Opponents.”“When BJP sees imminent defeat in Lok Sabha polls it has resorted to such actions to draw advantage in the election. In the assembly elections held last year too they had adopted similar tactics…. We were also prepared for the same. There should be impartial inquiry into everything. This is not going to affect us.”Former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, “There is a constitutional crisis in Madhya Pradesh. Why IT dept team is not being allowed to work? Who asked the local police to reach there (IT raids sites)? Is this not an act of promoting corruption?”Earlier Sunday, some of CRPF personnel standing guard at the ground floor of Platinum Plaza accused the local police personnel of misbehaving with and abusing them while the latter accused the CRPF personnel of detaining other people in the building and not allowing them to move out even though some of them were ailing. There are several flats and offices in Platinum Plaza, other than those being raided by the IT dept. The raids at Sharma’s and one Prateek Joshi’s properties at the Platinum Plaza and another property of Joshi at Ansal Plaza Shyamala Hills and CM’s OSD Praveen Kakkar’s Nadir colony residence at Bhopal began early Sunday. Madhya Pradesh’s Director General of Police, VK Singh said, “It (raids) has been going on at Indore and Bhopal since late night but there have been no signs of police interfering in the IT department work. But there have been reactions which could have led to a law and order issue and law and order issue can be handled only by the state police because only it’s empowered to do so.”Bhopal police chief Bhupendra Singh said they arrived at the scene after other residents complained of high-handedness. “We got phone calls from some persons inside the building that they have been detained in the building and that they are not being allowed to move out. That’s why we have come here to help them out. We don’t want to interfere in the IT department’s process,” Singh said.But a CRPF officer accused the local police of trying to interfere in their work.“Bhopal police misbehaved with and abused us and they tried to interfere in our work. We have not stopped anybody from leaving the premises. We are just here to help the IT department team in their work, “ CRPF officer Pradeep Dadar said.During the heated exchange of words an ambulance arrived at the scene in the evening. Later, two women came out of the building whose medical check-up was conducted in the ambulance. Senior BJP leader Dr Hitesh Bajpai tweeted, “Has @officeofKNath instructed MP police to create riot like West Bengal but don’t allow papers which have been recovered to go into anyone’s hands?” State Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi said, “We have no problem with the IT department’s work against any particular person but other people who are residing in the building are complaining that the entire building has been sealed and since 5 in the morning they have not been allowed to go out of the building. What crime they have committed? But there should be no confrontation between two sides. They should amicably resolve it.”According to official sources, an additional team of CRPF personnel was called in after the authorities concerned sent a report to home ministry regarding the situation developing in Madhya Pradesh.
First Published:
Apr 07, 2019 21:33 IST