NEW DELHI : The income tax department said on Monday searches in Madhya Pradesh have led to discovery of a racket linked to a political party and is involved in collection of unaccounted wealth. The department’s drive against cash dealings come at a time the nation is set to go to polls on Thursday.

The tax department said a part of the 281 crore that this racket has collected was sent to the headquarter of a major political party in the capital. The department claimed that during searches in the National Capital Region, Bhopal, Indore and Goa, it has found handwritten diaries, computer files and excel sheets showing collection and disbursement of cash. The tax department said it also found unaccounted cash of over 14 crore, 252 bottles of liquor, a few arms and hide-skins of tiger during the searches.

The tax department said, without naming anyone, that searches at the premises of a group linked to a political functionary have led to discovery of unaccounted transactions of 230 crore and 80 companies in tax havens besides benami at posh locations in Delhi.

The move by the I-T department is significant as it comes ahead of the beginning of Lok Sabha elections’ first phase. The amount of cash seized by the department could become a cause of worry for the Election Commission (EC) which monitors any violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

“Instances of violations of Model Code of Conduct are being brought to the notice of ECI," the income tax department posted on Twitter late Monday evening.

Opposition parties led by Congress have accused the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led union government of misusing agencies for ‘vendetta politics’. Earlier in the day, Congress’ senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge told ANI, referring to the I-T raids, that the party was “not scared of these things" and that it was ready to face any challenge.