88 income tax officers from across Uttar Pradesh had raided the homes and factories of steel and paper mill owner Harish Chhabra and jeweller Chittaranjan Swarup in 1989.
In groups, they raided nine locations with the expectation of recovering assets and unaccounted wealth worth Rs 2 crore.
According to an India Today report, the I-T officers who raided Chhabra’s factory were stripped naked and brutalised with leather belts and iron rods. To the extent that they were forced to borrow pyjamas to travel to Meerut.
Their other companions had to run for their lives as angry mobs ready to lynch them had already damaged their vehicles. It was one among the two raids that inspired the 2018-Ajay Devgn starrer Raid. The film shed light on the odds faced by the I-T personnel while carrying out their duty.
Why are we talking about this violence against the raid parties?
Because an unfortunate incident took place in Morena town of Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday, where a team of I-T officials searching the premises of an edible oil firm were attacked by a mob.
Deputy commissioner of income tax Vikram Pagaria, who was heading the team, was thrashed by a group of men, led by none other than Govind Bansal, the father of the firm’s owner Sanjay Bansal.
According to a report in The New Indian Express, with the raid that began on Tuesday, the search-party was able to recover unaccounted cash to the tune of Rs 3 lakh, jewellery valued at Rs 50 lakh and documents containing bogus financial transactions worth Rs 400 crore in last two years. Most of these transactions was carried out during the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes in November 2016.
When Sanjay Bansal was questioned about the recovery of the unaccounted wealth and assets, he complained of chest pain, uneasiness and back pain. He was rushed to a hospital in Morena. On his insistence, he was later shifted to a hospital in nearby Gwalior. The doctors at the hospital did not find anything unusual with his health, and so the man wasn’t admitted.
It was on the same day that in Morena town, the group of men led by Sanjay Bansal’s father assaulted the I-T deputy commissioner and his team.
This search team included I-T sleuths (women as well as men) and police personnel. The angry men tried to snatch the seized material, but the brave officers refused to relent and managed to save it all. Even under attack.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, Morena district police superintendent Amit Sanghi said that a case under six different IPC sections was registered against the four accused, including Govind Bansal, the same day. 65-year-old Bansal was taken into police custody a day later.
It is condemnable that government officers were attacked on duty. And while we hope that the incident is investigated in an orderly manner to help dispense justice, let’s applaud the valour and courage displayed by Vikram Pagaria and his team under life-threatening circumstances.
May their tribe grow.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)