Rs 600 crore payoffs? Diary seized from Congress MLC stirs row

Less than a year ago, income tax sleuths conducted a series of raids across Karnataka on politicians who had not filed their I-T returns or those who they suspected had black money.

The officers were in for a surprise when they discovered a diary with suspicious entries at the residence of Karnataka Congress MLC Govindaraj. The influential legislator, known to be close to top leaders in the ruling party, is also known as a party fund-raiser.

Govindaraj’s contacts are not restricted to Karnataka — he is known for his close links to many politicians in New Delhi. He is also the president of Karnataka Olympic Association. Income tax sources told Times Now the diary was allegedly hidden in Govindraj’s bedroom.

The file bears the signature of two witnesses who testified that it was recovered from the Congress legislator’s bedroom.

Just like the diaries seized from executives of Sahara and Birla groups, this diary, too, contains initials of individuals, their offices and entities that instantly arouse suspicion that money was collected and paid to them for services. In fact, it clearly mentions the initials of those who have given him the money in one column and in the other, initials of those whom he paid money. The secret diary No. AKG03 speaks of a staggering Rs 600 crore routed to mysterious names like AICC, AP, M Vora, SG office, RG office and DGS. The diary also has an entry under steel bridge from where Rs 65 crore was marked as received. There is one entry which shows Rs 7 crore being paid to media for the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike elections. The income tax department had called in Govindraj for questioning about the entries on February 11, 2017.

Govindraj claimed the handwriting isn’t his and the signatures were forged. The Congress, too, has claimed the diary is fake and an attempt to malign them, while the BJP has called for a detailed investigation into it.

Only a thorough investigation will provide answers as to who these people are, though some of the initials in the diaries bear striking resemblance to the names and initials in Agusta scam and ex-CBI director’s BBM chat.