TRS ministers KTR, Harish Rao and others get I-T notices for ‘Gulabi Coolie’

The ministers are yet to respond to the notices.
TRS ministers KTR, Harish Rao and others get I-T notices for ‘Gulabi Coolie’
TRS ministers KTR, Harish Rao and others get I-T notices for ‘Gulabi Coolie’
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The Income Tax department reportedly issued notices to Telangana ministers KT Rama Rao, T Harish Rao, former MP Kalvakuntla Kavitha,  Deputy CM Mahmood Ali, Etela Rajender and others over a complaint filed by Congress MP Revanth Reddy, News Meter reported.

In April 2017, TRS had initiated a unique party fundraiser 'Gulabi Coolie' for their plenary and public meeting which was grandly held in Warangal. To collect funds, TRS leaders engaged in manual labour and their wage was contributed to the party's fund. For instance, KTR served ice creams and juice and made earnings of Rs 7 lakh within an hour at a parlour. Labour Minister Malla Reddy bought ice-creams from KTR for Rs 5 lakh, while the ice-cream parlour owner Sudhir paid Rs 1 lakh and another TRS leader donated Rs 1 lakh. 

Similarly, several other ministers and MPs worked as coolies and collected lakhs of rupees as ‘wages’. Harish Rao worked as a sweeper and made Rs 8 lakh, Kavitha sold sarees and earned Rs 7 lakh.

Alleging foul play in the whole campaign and viewing that the programme was nothing but extortion, Revanth Reddy who was with the TDP, had filed a complaint. Reddy even approached the Delhi High Court. 

Based on his complaint, the Delhi High Court issued directions to the I-T department to investigate the allegations. 

Responding to the issue, former MP and state planning board vice-chairman B Vinod Kumar told Times of India that the I-T department issuing notice doesn't mean they violated any law.

"TRS leaders collected contributions, and everything was done transparently. Based on Revanth’s petition, Delhi High Court issued directions to Income Tax department which is following court orders. All party leaders will reply to the notices. There was no foul play."

However, according to Revanth Reddy, besides setting a dangerous precedent for extortion, the controversial campaign was in violation of rules. He said that as per rules, the ministers who are paid salaries, shall not earn money by performing other tasks.

“The Labour Act defines minimum wages for coolies. In that case, how were TRS leaders paid lakhs for lifting a gunny bag? This is a clear case of quid pro quo where businessmen, realtors, hoteliers and hospital owners paid huge sums as bribes to public representatives,” Revanth Reddy told Times of India.

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