New Delhi, March 16 (IANS) The Rajya Sabha was disrupted Wednesday with the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accusing the government of assaulting the country’s federal structure by using the Income Tax department against the Gujarat government on investments under agreements signed during the Vibrant Gujarat summit.
The BJP, along with its allies, charged the government of using the IT department as a political tool for harassing states ruled by opposition parties.
The house saw its first two adjournments when it assembled for the zero hour. The house was first adjourned for 10 minutes and then till noon. It was then adjourned till 2 p.m. as opposition members demanded a reply from Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and later from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue.
As the house met for the question hour after the three adjournments, the BJP and other parties raised their pitch once again and the house was adjourned till 3 p.m.
“This is a huge assault on the federalism of India. There is no greater abuse…Do you have animus against people of Gujarat,” Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley asked, raising the issue during the zero hour.
“Is Gujarat an enemy territory? Do you treat the chief minister (Narendra Modi) as an enemy,” he asked.
Jaitley said several Opposition-ruled states, other than governed by the BJP, like Orissa, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh have complained about discrimination by the central government.
He was supported by Janata Dal-United (JD-U) member Shivanand Tiwari and Pyarimohan Mohapatra of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD).
He said Gujarat has institutionalised the system of attracting investment by hosting the Vibrant Gujarat event.
This year, memorandums of understanding (MoUs) for investment exceeding Rs.25 lakh crore were signed and these are sought to be inquired into by the Income Tax department.
The Income Tax department has issued a show cause notice to Gujarat government details of all MoUs worth over Rs.1,000 crore it signed with different companies.
The letter, dated Feb 17, signed by Deputy Director (Investigations) Anurag Sharma, said the inquiry was being conducted under section 131 (1A) of the Income Tax Act.