The Income Tax Department on Friday conducted searches at properties linked to Jharkhand Congress MLAs Kumar Jaimangal and Pradip Yadav, PTI reported.

Jaimangal is the party’s legislator from Bermo constituency. Yadav joined the Congress after leaving Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) and represents Poreyahat.

Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) was merged with the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2020.

Jaimangal said he was cooperating with the department, which has accused him of tax evasion. “The searches were carried out under the pressure of the BJP,” he alleged. “Such action will have to be faced by those who are against BJP. I am against BJP and so, I am facing it. But, it can’t scare me.”

In August, Jaimangal had lodged a police complaint against three legislators of his party — Irfan Ansari, Rajesh Kachchap and Naman Bixal Kongari — alleging that they were plotting to overthrow the Jharkhand government by joining hands with BJP.

He had claimed that the three MLAs had called him to Kolkata to meet Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sama, who was allegedly going to give Jaimangal a ministerial berth in the new government.

On Friday, Congress said that searches on Jaimangal and Yadav were a part of the operation to destabilise governments in non-BJP-ruled states.

“The I-T Department is a constitutional body, we respect that,” said Congress spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan. “But the timing [of searches] raises questions.”

The raids were carried out at a time when the Enforcement Directorate is conducting an inquiry against Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren in a money laundering investigation related to an alleged mining scam in the state.

Meanwhile, BJP leader Babulal Marandi said his party has nothing to do with such raids.

“The I-T operations at houses of Anup Singh and Pradip Yadav are being forcefully given political colour to divert people’s attention from the act (of tax evasion),” Jharkhand BJP spokesperson Pratul Shahdeo said.