Narendra Modi jokes about I-T raids, officials take it seriously

It was only a joke when Gujarat Chief Minister and the Bharatiya Janta Party’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, while addressing a group of diamond merchants in the city, said that some of them could be on the radar of the Income Tax department. 

Raided: Traders standing outside Panchratna building in Opera House. Panchratna was one of the many premises that were raided by I-T officials yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate

But less than 72 hours later, I-T officials raided more than 50 offices in Mumbai and Surat, belonging to the city’s top diamond businessmen. According to sources, officials raided offices and houses at Panchratna, Bharat Diamond Bourse at Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), Prasad Chambers, Opera House, Zaveri Bazaar and Govandi. More than 70 officials conducted the raids yesterday; the raids are still on today as well.

On September 30, Modi had come to the city to inaugurate the Diamond Hall at Bharat Diamond Bourse in BKC.

The function was attended by diamond traders from across the city.

But I-T officials rubbished any connection between the two events, clarifying that the raids were a part of a continuous process. According to officials, after conducting raids in Kolkata and Jaipur, the raids at Mumbai had followed.

Those targeted in the raids were mainly businessmen who made fake invoices and bogus bills. Swatantra Kumar, Director General (Investigation), Income Tax, said, “We have not raided merchants. We have mainly raided the people who provided accommodation entries to diamond merchants and others in Mumbai and Surat.”  

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