The Income Tax department crackdown on illegal cash transactions in poll-bound Bihar saw officials seizing Rs 8 lakh from an aide of Congress MLA Mohan Srivastav inside the premises of the state Congress office in Patna. Based on the seizure, the IT department has sent a notice to the Congress party.

According to income tax officials, at around 3pm on October 22, a team stopped a car that was coming out of the Congress party office. Upon searching the vehicle, officials allegedly recovered Rs 2 lakh from the accused -- identified as Ashutosh -- and another Rs 6 lakh stashed within the car's mats. 

Upon interrogation, Ashutosh allegedly told the IT department officials that he was working for Congress MLA Mohan Srivastav and that the money had been given by leaders inside the party headquarters in Patna, and was meant to be taken to Gaya.

Thereafter, the IT department sent a notice, which nobody in the party office was willing to accept. The officials then pasted the notice outside the office.

Caught on the backfoot, the Congress resorted to delaying tactics.

Ashutosh Ranjan Pandey, president of the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee legal cell, informed the IT department that the "PCC President is contesting council elections and is unavailable along with, other office bearers, who are travelling in preparation for congress leadership rallies." 

"In light of principles of natural justice, 15 days time may be given to furnish the information sought from the office bearers of Bihar PCC. We will fully cooperate vis-a-vis any information your good offices seek," he said.

Meanwhile, the Congress also gave a political twist to the IT department's seizure and notice.

Claiming that no money was recovered from within the office compound, Congress Bihar in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil said, "They served notice after money was recovered from a vehicle outside the compound. No money recovered within the compound. We will cooperate. 22 kg gold, 2.5 kg silver was recovered from BJP candidate from Raxaul. Why is IT not going there?"

Congress party's ally RJD too claimed poltical witch-hunt.

In a tweet, the RJD said: "Income tax department has started raiding Opposition parties. Do you understand the meaning?? This is called accepting defeat."

Polls for the 243-member Bihar Assembly will be held in three phases — October 28, November 3 and November 7 — and counting of votes will be held on November 10.