I-T raids on home of AICC cashier

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KOCHI/NEW DELHI: A special team of income tax officers raided the Kochi house of Congress leader T Mathews Varghese, who has been working as cashier at the AICC headquarters in Delhi for decades and is believed to have been engaged in the party’s major financial transactions.
The raid on Varghese’s house started at 10 am on Saturday and continued till late in the evening. On Friday, a larger team of more than 12 I-T officials raided Varghese’s house for 12 hours and seized some documents. Congress claimed the IT department had raided five “ordinary employees” and called it a “new low” in vendetta politics.
“You (BJP) cannot create a police or a surveillance state by terror of raids on the opposition party,” Anand Sharma said.
Protesting the I-T raids, Youth Congress and NSUI held a demonstration outside the residence of finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Varghese’s wife, son, daughter-in-law and grandson were present at the house during the raid. The team cordoned off the house and even close relatives, including Mathews’ brother Joseph, were not allowed entry during the raid. Varghese’s son Raju was seen in the courtyard briefly, but refused to speak to the media. The officials remained tight-lipped about the raid.
Varghese’s relatives said he was questioned about financial dealings conducted by AICC during several elections in the past. “The family, a bit hesitant to talk about the interrogation even after the officials left, they said that the AICC cashier was asked about visits of certain persons to AICC headquarters on specific dates,” a relative said.
Varghese, in his early 80s and a Delhi resident, has been at his Kochi house for the past few weeks in connection with medical treatment. “My uncle is a cancer patient and has been undergoing treatment including chemotherapy at a private hospital in the city. He came here in September as part of this. The two-day raid and questioning, without even allowing us to use mobile phones, was tiring for him as well as the family,” said Jomon Joseph, Varghese’s nephew.
Since the BJP came to power, the country has been operating under two sets of laws, with the ruling party never questioned despite being the “richest political party in the world”, Sharma alleged, adding that BJP spent around Rs 40,000 crore in Lok Sabha elections and received 99% of the electoral bonds issued.
The team of I-T officials who reached Kochi on Friday to question AICC cashier T Mathews Varghese initially went to the wrong house. Around 12 officials, who came in three vehicles, went to the house of T M Varghese, a large-scale farmer near Chottanikkara. They realised the mistake after more than two hours of questioning the ‘wrong’ Varghese.

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