New Delhi: Quoting a report in the Caravan, the Congress party today alleged that India’s income-tax department was in possession of a diary that details pay-offs of over Rs 1,800 crore to top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, with entries apparently written in the hand of Karnataka state president BS Yeddyurappa.
According to the entries, the recipients of the funds include finance minister Arun Jaitley, home minister Rajnath Singh, and transport minister Nitin Gadkari, as well the BJP Central Committee and state legislators, Caravan reported.
Addressing the press on Friday, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala demanded an investigation into the evidence that Yeddyurappa – a former chief minister of Karnataka tainted by corruption allegations – arranged these payouts through mining baron and former state minister Gali Janaradhana Reddy.
“Five facts are disclosed from this diary. Rs 2,690 crore was extorted and Rs 1,800 crore was given to BJP’s central team,” Surjewala said. “Yeddyurappa was a CM from May 2008 to July 2011, and this diary contains his signatures and names of top BJP leaders.”
“It mentions the names of senior BJP leaders from Rajnath Singh to Jaitley,” he added. “There is an allegation of a bribe of Rs 1,800 crore on the top BJP leadership.”
“Is it true or false? The diary with BS Yeddyurappa’s sign on it was with the Income Tax Department since 2017. If that is the case why did Modi ji and BJP did not get it investigated?” Surjewala asked.
Ruling party calls evidence ‘fake’
Yeddyurappa also spoke to the press on Friday, and tweeted that “IT department officials have already probed the issue to find that the documents and signatures and handwritten notes are forged one.”
— Chowkidar B.S. Yeddyurappa (@BSYBJP) March 22, 2019
The Caravan article, published earlier on Friday, made public copies of the alleged Yeddyurappa diary entries, which describe purported payments to Union ministers Arun Jaitley (Rs 150 crore), Nitin Gadkari (Rs 150 crore) and Rajnath Singh (Rs 100 crore) as well as senior BJP leaders L.K. Advani (Rs 50 crore) and Murli Manohar Joshi (Rs 50 crore).
According to the article, the IT department obtained the diary in August 2017, when it raided Congress leader D.K Shivakumar in Karnataka. These documents, along with a note by a senior income tax official, were then allegedly sent to Arun Jaitley.
The official’s note allegedly inquires about what further action should be taken – “whether the original diary is to be procured and a case petition can be led before the Supreme Court for further investigation by Enforcement Directorate or any other appropriate agency”. There is no evidence of any response from the finance minister.
“The senior official wrote that the IT department ‘protected the interests of the BJP leaders. Since this matter is connected to the BJP leaders of Karnataka and also in Delhi, no further investigation has been done till date’,” Caravan reported.