There seems to be more trouble in store for Azam Khan after the Income Tax department on Wednesday carried out raids at more than three dozen properties of the Samajwadi Party (SP) leader across six districts in Uttar Pradesh.
Most of the raids were associated with the leader’s Al Jauhar Trust. The raids, which began early in the morning, were carried out in Lucknow, Meerut, Rampur, Saharanpur, Sitapur and Ghaziabad as well as Madhya Pradesh. The SP leader’s relatives were also raided.
Officials with the IT department first carried out raids in the state capital at Khan’s sister’s house in Kaiserbagh locality of Lucknow. “However, since the sister has already vacated the house, the team left soon after inquiring with us,” a local said.
Similar raids were carried out at the house of the owner of Regency Public School in UP’s Sitapur district, who is said to be a relative of the SP leader. In Rampur, the IT department carried out extensive raids at various properties, including that of SP leader Naseer Khan. The team also raided the SP leader’s resort named ‘Humsafar’. Sources said other than UP, raids were carried out in MP’s Vidisha district too as part of the tax evasion probe against Khan.
In March 2023, the department had served a notice to Azam Khan, his wife Tanzeen Fatima and their former MLA son Abdullah Azam Khan after spotting several discrepancies in the income tax returns (ITR). Sources within the IT department said the discrepancies came to the fore after officials compared the affidavit submitted by Khan and his family before the Election Commission ahead of polls. There were allegations that several transactions were done in accounts linked to Khan’s wife but no mention of the same was found in the ITR.
In 2022, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had summoned the wife and son of the SP leader for questioning in a money laundering case.
Senior SP leader Udaiveer Singh, however, blamed the BJP government for targeting Khan. “Initially, false cases were registered against him. Then came ED raids and now IT raids. He is a soft target for BJP,” Singh said.