We received the following response from Pappu Bhatia:
Businessman Baldeo Singh Bhatia alias Pappu Bhatia, however, clarified that it was “factually incorrect that any income tax raid was carried out at his establishments or the establishments of his relatives or any business owned and operated by him and therefore the discovery of any diary from me is also not true.
The raids that were carried out at the premises which turned out to be that of Amolakh Bhatia.”
The Income Tax (IT) Department seizure of cash trail details from the diaries of big liquor trader Pappu Bhatia has created tension for Congress leadership in Delhi. It is also shaking up the leadership of Chattisgarh, which the party is ruling. After the IT and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) crackdown on Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar, for money matters, the Congress leadership was banking on Raipur-based liquor trader Pappu Bhatia, who enjoys good clout in the Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh state.
The Income Tax raid started at Pappu Bhatia’s establishments in the last week of February and led to some very senior IAS officers close to Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. According to senior Income Tax officials, Bhatia’s habit of writing down money given to politicians, officials, police officers became a treasure trove of information for them. In the Income Tax circles, these cash pay-out notings are nicknamed as Pappu Diaries. The Intelligence Bureau (IB) also took a copy of these Pappu Diaries to appraise the money flow to Congress leadership in Delhi to the Central agencies. Pappu Bhatia’s original name is Baldev Singh Bhatia. He is also the President of the Chhattisgarh Cricket Association.
The money transaction to Delhi was done on the road route using personal vehicles from Raipur. Apart from the names of senior Congress leaders, there were names of certain IPS officers and even some senior IRS officers, say the officials who are analyzing the noting in Pappu Diaries. According to them, the pay-out details claimed in this News18 article is true.
On March 2, an angry Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the ongoing “politically motivated” raids in parts of the state by the Income Tax department, terming the action as an affront to the idea of cooperative federalism.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Baghel said it is an intriguing coincidence that the timings of these raids coincide with the decision of the state government to initiate criminal investigations into the alleged acts of corruption committed under the previous BJP Government. Baghel also blamed Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for using tax sleuths on Pappu Bhatia, which led to many officials close to him.
“May I respectfully point out that the actions of Finance/ Home Ministries of the Government of India are nothing short of an affront to the idea of cooperative federalism that you have often spoken about,” the Chief Minister of the Congress-ruled state said. He said the action reflects “coercive and insecure centrism”.
“The actions of the agencies of Government of India border on a political vendetta on one hand and threaten the very core of our democracy on the other,” he said in the letter. Baghel questioned the “unconstitutional” use of CRPF personnel, which are to be used only for “emergencies” and exceptional circumstances, during the raids.
As Income Tax had used Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) protection during raids, the State-ruled Congress leadership could not pressurize the probing officers. Meanwhile, Congress leaders say that the Income Tax is only leaking the names of Congress leaders in the Pappu Diaries and hushing up the names of certain BJP leaders in the state, who also enjoyed largesse from the liquor wholesale dealer.
 I-T Dept Raids Close Aides of Chattisgarh Govt Including Raipur Mayor; Business Groups in MP Targeted – Feb 27, 2020, News18.com
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