The Director General and Inspector General of the Income Tax Department of Karnataka and Goa, KG Balakrishna, on Saturday said that photocopies of the handwritten diary allegedly belonging to BS Yeddyurappa, found at Congress Minister DK Shivakumar's during a raid was a forged document.
Speaking to the media, KG Balakrishna said, "The documents were sent to the forensic lab in Hyderabad and they said that unless the original document is provided they cannot investigate. The pages, according to our investigation, was a forged document. The pages were given to us as an attempt to influence some other investigation and we did not succumb to it."
He also said that the diary entries were loose pages tied together and that the entries were not statements of accounts, which were inadmissible as evidence in as per Supreme Court order. He, however, did not clarify whether the Income Tax department had tried to track down if there was any original copy of the document. He also said that the first page put out by Caravan magazine, which was alleged pay offs of Rs 150 crores to Karnataka MLAs and politicians, was not part of the documents they had seized.
According to the Central Board of Direct Taxes, the documents were given to Income Tax Department Officials by Minister DK Shivakumar during a raid conducted at his residence in Bengaluru in August 2017.
"They were a xerox copy of Karnataka Legislative Assembly, Legislator's Diary pages of 2009 with details of numerical entries against some individual names. The original of these documents was never given,” the CBDT’s statement says.
The CBDT claimed that when the I-T officials questioned DK Shivakumar the Minister had responded by saying the papers were copies of a diary, written by BS Yeddyurappa, and the payments paid on behalf of Yeddyurappa to legislators, leaders, MLAs, Union Ministers between 2008 and 2011. CBDT also said that DK Shivakumar had told the Income Tax officials that he did not inform the authorities about the photocopied papers as he could not ascertain the authenticity of the documents.
The CBDT said they had subsequently questioned BS Yeddyurappa in November 2017 regarding the diary entries. Yedyurappa had allegedly provided the I-T officials with a copy of his handwriting. This sample along with the photocopied material was sent to the forensic science lab in Hyderabad.
"The forensic report said that unless the original document is provided, the authenticity of the documents could not be ascertained," KG Balakrishna added.
Both the CBDT's press release and the reaction provided by the DG and IG of the Income Tax Department, however, raise more questions than answers: Why did the Income Tax Department not investigate the matter completely? Why did DK Shivakumar keep these copies at home?