Former IAS officer and activist Harsh Mander, who’s been running a nationwide campaign against mob lynchings, has blamed his run-in on a TV debate with Rakesh Sinha of the RSS for the recent Income Tax notice.
The Income Tax Department recently sent a notice to the Centre for Equity Studies run by Mander for “complete scrutiny” of its returns. Mander has blamed his TV counter with Sinha on NDTV’s Left Right & Centre for the government action.
On 14 September, Mander was taking part in the NDTV debate show on the murder of Pehlu Khan- a dairy farmer- by Hindutva terrorists. Also on the show was Sinha, a known RSS ideologue, who said, “Let there be a probe on the activities of Mr Harsh Mandar’s NGO.”
Just days later, Mander received the IT department’s notice.
He told NDTV, “The Income Tax Department may claim this is just a routine notice. But the timing of the notice — shortly after the public threat for getting the funding of ‘my’ organisations investigated — and the fact that less than 1% of the returns are scrutinised, suggest that this could well be an act of state vengeance and intimidation.”
A day after the TV debate, Mander’s “Karwan-e-Mohabbat” reached Alwar, where Pehlu was brutally murdered by Hindutva terrorists masquerading as cow-vigilantes. He sat down at the site for few minutes to pay his tribute and placed flowers despite being targetted by the right-wing supporters.
As for the Income Tax notice, Mander said that no amount of intimidation was going to deter him from raising his voice against right-wing fanatics.
He said, “We are happy to subject ourselves to any scrutiny, and will fully cooperate with the investigation, as we believe in public accountability.”
Mander is the Founder-Director for Centre for Equity Studies, which was founded by him and Professor Ghanshyam Shah, Professor S Parasuraman, Professor Jean Dreze and NC Saxena in 2000.
Meanwhile, reacting to Mander’s allegations, Sinha on Sunday said, “Tragedy of secularist politics:corrupt& scoundrel use anti-RSSism to hide public shame of his/ her fraud.Harsh Mander too taking its shelter. (sic).”
Tragedy of secularist politics:corrupt& scoundrel use anti-RSSism to hide public shame of his/ her fraud.Harsh Mander too taking its shelter
— Prof Rakesh Sinha (@RakeshSinha01) September 24, 2017