The unexpected activeness shown by Income Tax department by sending notices to the government of Gujarat seeking details of MoUs signed during this year’s Vibrant Gujarat Summit ironically showcases a new face of the department never seen before. This is the first ever initiative by the department in which its sleuths have sought a statement from a state government on investment MoUs. All of a sudden activeness on its part, undoubtedly, raises doubt on the motive behind the initiative. Now, it is upto the I-T department to find out ways to dispel the qualms and give a fitting reason to justify why does it want to know about the details of Memorandum of Understandings. Is it because the MoUs signed during the Vibrant Gujarat Summit was nearly Rs 21 lakh crore? Undoubtedly, the industrial sector was surprised to know about such a huge investment made in Gujarat. But isn’t it also a fact that Gujarat has always been the first choice for investors? The I-T department should better be aware that all the MoUs during ‘Vibrant Gujarat Summit’ were signed by well known industrial houses. It may be essential for the I-T department to know the source funding heavy investments in a state, but isn’t it unwanted on its part to scrutinise the MoUs even before their enforcement? It is a known fact that most of the MoUs remain limited to papers without being implemented. Due to suspicious intention of the sudden interest of the I-T department in Gujarat investments, the allegations by BJP leaders on the Centre of trying to scare away industrialists from Gujarat are justified. I-T too, cannot shield itself from these contentions and wash off its hands. If these allegations are false accusations and the government has no such intention then it should be clearly stated as to why did the I-T department not entertain the news of MoUs signed for huge investments in Gujarat?

It is true the whole process of I-T notice to Gujarat Government kicked off after a Congress leader wrote a letter to the department regarding the MoUs signed during Vibrant Gujarat Summit, but the nation would really want to know if the department genuinely shows such a keen interest in all the letters it receives. The answer to this is all the more desirable in light of the I-T department’s laxity in the case of controversial businessman Hasan Ali Khan allegedly involved in black money case. If department wants to justify its action citing that investigation of MoUs has become essential, then it should be noted that this is a tactical issue. As such, if in this case, any BJP leader wants a clarification from the Finance Minister then this should not be considered unfair because the I-T department is not entitled to formulate policies. It is natural for the Congressmen to feel jealous of the ways adopted by Gujarat government to lure investors, but this cannot be forwarded as an argument to justify that this kind of investigation by the I-T department will help in stopping black money transactions. Even if the Congressmen are thinking that the heavy investment claims during Vibrant Gujarat Summit was done for publicity, the rationale behind the I-T department’s activeness is incomprehensible. If the investment claims are not true, then this should be a cause of concern for the government of Gujarat and not for the Income Tax department.