Following IT raids in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, that led to the suspension of an IAS couple on Friday, panic seems to have gripped the bureaucratic and business circles here. Senior bureaucrats are not answering calls, according to unofficial sources.

Search continues

The searches by the Income-Tax Department continued on Saturday. The residential premises of Seema Jaiswal, branch manager of ICICI Prudential, were also raided.

Those involved in Bhopal admitted to concealed income worth Rs. 7 crore and those in Raipur to Rs. 50 lakh, Brajesh Gupta, Director-General of Investigations (IT) for both States, told The Hindu.

Asked whether the offenders could end up behind bars, he said: “That possibility cannot be ruled out, but anything conclusive can be said only after assessment. As we are only investigating the fraud at the moment, I can’t say more on the issue.”

Mr. Gupta said the IAS couple, Principal Secretaries Arvind Joshi and Tinu Joshi, had not admitted to any concealed income although over Rs. 3 crore in cash was recovered from their residence. “Naturally, they have not admitted to any concealed income. If they do, they will be put behind bars by the State government not only for tax evasion but also for corruption.”

Threats to IT officials

Reports of intimidation of lower officials of the IT Department by those involved in the tax fraud were also doing the rounds here. Mr. Gupta, however, said: “Not to my knowledge.”