While the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Union Minister for Law and Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad, who has represented the Sahara Group of companies in the Supreme Court as lawyer, and several television channels on Wednesday evening sought to dismiss the ‘Sahara papers’ as ‘lies’, ‘rejected by the Supreme Court’ and ‘irresponsible’, the facts which have surfaced from the papers submitted by the NGO Common Cause in its pending PIL in the Supreme Court indicate the following:
Fact Number 1: In October, 2013 the Central Bureau of Investigation conducted a raid on the fourth floor of a building on Parliament Street and recovered cash worth Rs 25 crore and papers from office belonging to Aditya Birla Group. The money was handed over to Income Tax after company officials failed to explain the source. They however claimed that the money was meant for purchasing Diwali gifts. A laptop recovered from the office had an e-mail entry and that e-mail entry read as – "Gujarat CM 25 Cr – 12 done – Rest '?'.
Fact Number 2: During interrogation by the Income Tax Department (the written record submitted by NGO Common Cause to the Supreme Court), Aditya Birla Group official claims that ‘Gujarat CM-12’ mentioned in one of the documents stood for Gujarat Alkali Chemicals.
Fact Number 3: In November, 2014 Income Tax Department conducted a raid in three premises of Sahara Group of companies in New Delhi and recovered Rs 135 crore in cash according to media reports and several Excel sheets, computer printouts and typed and handwritten paper.
Fact Number 4: Sahara Group officials affixed their signature on the documents as witnesses along with Income Tax Official conducting the raid. The department’s seal was also put on the documents.
Fact Number 5: An Appraisal Report running into “thousands of pages” have been prepared by the Department.
Fact Number 6: The Income Tax Department is only mandated to unearth unaccounted income and levy tax on the amount. It does not carry out investigations on the source of the money or how it was spent.