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Untimely raids, unanswered questions

Untimely raids, unanswered questions
Highlights

Ahead of elections to Andhra Pradesh Assembly next year, the raids by the Income Tax sleuths on the residence of Telangana Congress Working president A Revanth Reddy in Hyderabad raise more questions than answers

A head of elections to Andhra Pradesh Assembly next year, the raids by the Income Tax sleuths on the residence of Telangana Congress Working president A Revanth Reddy in Hyderabad raise more questions than answers.

The IT officials who made the raids were more interested in knowing about the Rs 50 lakh cash that Revanth Reddy had offered to nominated MLA Elvis Stephenson in 2015 in the run up to the elections to Telangana Legislative Council in return to support to Telugu Desam Party (TDP) candidate.

Revanth Reddy, then, was caught on video tape offering the cash and then a conversion purported to have taken place on a phone between Stephenson and AP Chief Minister and TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu was later aired on a TV news channel in which “Naidu promised” to take care of his needs and requirements. The ACB then arrested Revanth Reddy who later came out of jail on bail.

But the IT sleuths who raided Revanth Reddy’s residences on Thursday, also grilled his aides Sebastian and Udaya Simha against whom the Telangana ACB had also registered cases in the vote-for-note scam in 2015, raising doubts over the I-T motive - whether it was primarily interested in knowing the sources of Rs 50 lakh offered to Stephenson.

No one would have any objection if the raids are meant to flush out ill-gotten wealth. But the nation has a history of the ruling party, whichever it is, using its investigative agencies - CBI, I-T and Enforcement Directorate - to settle scores with its political rivals, one cannot blame if one thinks if there is more to it than what meets the eye.

The case of luring the independent MLA in Telangana Assembly is still alive, which means that anytime the ACB teams could crackdown on those who are accused in it. In fact, recently, the Telangana government had cleared the dust that had accumulated on the files relating to the case, sending a signal that the case has not yet been closed.

Now that the I-T department is showing interest in how Revanth Reddy had got into possession of that kind of money, that too after nearly four years, it makes one wonder if a case is being built against the perpetrators of the crime as part of political witch hunt. Whatever evidence that the I-T sleuths turn up with, would be of use to the ACB.

In Telangana, though the TDP is not a force to reckon with, the Congress is. For the TRS, vanquishing the Congress is priority now and Revanth Reddy is its working president. For the BJP at the Centre, both Naidu and Congress are sworn enemies.

It will go to any extent to decimate them. As there is no Congress in AP just as the way there is no TDP In Telangana, the BJP wants to see that AP is TDP-mukt and Telangana is Congress-mukt. As far as Telangana is concerned, it has reportedly grounded a strategy to take the Congress on with the help of K Chandrashekar Rao but in AP, the work is more dicey since Naidu is in power unlike in Telangana where the Congress is in Opposition.

Though it is rumoured that in AP, the BJP has been working in league with Jaganmohan Reddy who is Chandrababu Naidu's adversary even when the TDP was part of NDA, the saffron leadership appears keen on having a fool-proof strategy to keep Naidu at bay for ever.

The I-T raids on Revanth Reddy's residence taking place at this juncture, without any warning, is making the common man, think if the BJP has something up its sleeve.

For long, the TDP is worried over the possibility of the apparition of the vote-for- note scam re-emerging from the corridors of Telangana ACB but they had not imagined that the it would be in the form of I-T, an agency of the Centre. If the IT was conducting the raids basing on reports that Revanth Reddy had amassed black money, it is fine. If not, it is not in the interest of democracy

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