New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Income Tax Department has issued notices in National Herald case and now it is its duty to assess the parties allegedly involved in it.
“When Income Tax has already issued notices asking for details, Income Tax is under the duty to assess. It has to assess Congress party, it has to assess the Associated Journal, it has to assess Young Indian. There is certain proceeding, and notices and that process is on,” he said in an interview to NDTV.
“I have never said that process is not on. I have never said that process will stop or its not on. They issue notices, they hear assessees. These are quasi-judicial authority. I don’t even know who is the assessing officer,” he said when asked why ED and Income Tax department were not taking action in the matter related to National Herald.
He, however, denied that the Enforcement Directorate reopened case.
ED is not looking into the matter, he said, adding, they are independent investigative agency and the Finance Minister has no role in it.
The Congress party has claimed the Enforcement Directorate under the Modi government had reopened the National Herald case after having closed it.
“Why did the government reopen a closed enquiry by the Enforcement Directorate? After the BJP government came into office, the ED closed the case. Then the ED was abruptly transferred and enquiry was reopened. I am not criticising the judge, I am criticising the judgement,” senior party leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram had said last week.
Congress has been protesting in Parliament on the National Herald issue alleging political vendetta after the Delhi High Court refused to quash summonses to its leaders including party chief Sonia Gandhi and her deputy Rahul Gandhi.
To a question on Congress stalling Parliament, Jaitley said, “Mature politics requires that we get out of this cry baby syndrome. I just saw a statement on my phone in one of the news sites saying the Assam Minister has denied this allegation (that Rahul was allegedly stopped from entering a temple there).
“The Assam Minister has said what their leader is saying is not correct,” he said.
Jaitley said: “We can make political assaults on the opponents, we can make criticism but we cannot come crying everyday and say today we want to stall for reason A, tomorrow I want to stall for reason B, day after I want to stall it for reason C and some of these reasons don’t exist.”
On GST, Jaitley said if there is an intention to resolve “all can be resolved”.
“My original proposal never had one per cent cess. It’s the manufacturing states which insisted and, if that’s the sticking point, I can go back to manufacturing states and tell them if you suffer a loss at least one per cent tax is for two years for these two years we have already undertaken to make good all the losses that you suffer,” he said.
On food inflation, he said prices of pulses is a matter of concern and the government is seriously making efforts to bring them down.