The Income Tax department on Monday claimed that the raids conducted over the last two days in Madhya Pradesh have detected “a widespread and well-organised racket of a collection of unaccounted cash of about Rs 281 crore” through various persons in different walks of life, including business, politics and public service.

It further said a part of the cash was transferred to the headquarters of a ‘major political party in Delhi’.

It, however, neither identified the political party nor the senior functionary.

Income Tax officials have been conducting raids at multiple locations in Madhya Pradesh and elsewhere said to belong to close aides of MP chief minister Kamal Nath since Sunday.

The I-T department on Monday said it has recovered Rs 14.6 crore of “unaccounted” cash and seized diaries and computer files of suspect payments in raids.

“Rs 14.6 crore of unaccounted cash has been found so far, besides 252 bottles of liquor, few arms and tiger hide-skins,” the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said in a statement.

“A part of the cash was also transferred to the headquarter of a major political party in Delhi, including about Rs 20 crore, which was moved through hawala recently to the headquarter of the political party from the residence of a senior functionary at Tughlak Road, New Delhi,” the CBDT said.

The statement added that records of collection and disbursement of cash “in the form of handwritten diaries, computer files and excel sheets were found and seized and it corroborates the above findings”.

It added that the searches in Delhi in the group of a close relative of the senior functionary have further led to the seizure of “incriminating evidence, including cash book recording unaccounted transactions of Rs 230 crore, syphoning off money through bogus billing of more than Rs 242 crore and evidence of more than 80 companies in tax havens.”

The CBDT said several unaccounted/benami properties at posh locations in Delhi have also been detected.

It said these “instances of violations of the model code of conduct are being brought to the notice of the Election Commission”.

The searches, on charges of alleged tax evasion and hawala transactions during the ongoing poll season, continued Monday at various premises in Bhopal, Indore, Delhi and the national capital region.

Altogether 52 locations were raided, including in Goa, Ahmedabad, and at Delhi’s Green Park in pre-dawn raids on Sunday by the income tax sleuths.

In Bhopal, the raids were conducted at the Nadir Colony home of Praveen Kakkar, a long-time confidant and former Officer on Special Duty of Kamal Nath. Kakkar’s residence in Indore was also raided.

Raids are still underway at the residence of Ashwin Sharma, an associate of Kakkar.

Also targeted were locations linked to former Nath adviser Rajendra Miglani and executives linked to his brother-in-law’s firm and his nephew Ratul Puri’s company.

Last week, Puri was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in the national capital in connection with the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland chopper deal case.

The source said that the IT Department also got tips from Puri’s questioning and thus planned a series of raids in the state.

Sources had told PTI that there is a “strong possibility” of the cash recovered during the operation being used as an election inducement to fund political campaigns and bribe voters in the poll-bound state and in Delhi.

A preliminary report of the raids has also been shared by the department with the CBDT and the Election Commission in Delhi.

A cash van with large-sized trunks has been sent by the department at a location in Bhopal to seize and collect the cash found during the raids, they said.

Kamal Nath had reacted late Sunday to the development.

“The situation about the I-T raids is not clear yet. It would be appropriate to speak on this after the situation is clear. But the entire country knows how the constitutional institutions were used and against whom they were used during the past five years,” he had said.

“These institutions were used to scare people. When they do not have anything to say on development and their work, they used this kind of tactics against their opponents,” the CM’s statement had said.

(With PTI inputs)