The Income Tax Department raids on the properties of Karnataka minister DK Shivakumar continued for the second consecutive day on Thursday. Besides the 39 locations in Karnataka, some places in Chennai and Delhi were also being searched.
There has been no word from the I-T department on how much amount was seized during the raids, though PTI reported that around Rs 10 crore in cash and some jewellery was found on Wednesday. However, Asianet Newsable reported that no cash was recovered during the raids.
The energy minister of Karnataka is being investigated for alleged tax evasion and undisclosed investments in real estate. He is also accused of routing funds through Singapore, NDTV reported. Shivakumar is believed to be one of the richest politicians in the country with assets worth Rs 251 crore.
The raids, which started on Wednesday, came as Shivakumar was overseeing the stay of 44 Congress MLAs at Gujarat at a resort in Bengaluru. The Congress had put them up at the resort to prevent them from allegedly being poached by the Bharatiya Janata Party before the August 8 Rajya Sabha elections.
Congress alleges political influence
The Karnataka government protested the deployment of Central Reserve Police Force personnel in “full operational attire” during the raids, The New Indian Express reported on Thursday. A letter written by Karnataka Home Department Additional Chief Secretary Subhash Chandra to Union Financial Services Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said that the deployment of CRPF personnel in full operational attire conveys a wrong impression and “casts an aspersion of adverse credibility, integrity and professionalism of the state police”.
Karnataka Chief Minister K Siddaramaiah on Wednesday had condemned the raids, calling them politically motivated. “The use of central paramilitary forces in an I-T search is condemnable.” The chief minister said the Congress would not budge under “such political blackmail nor stoop to vindictive politics”.
The I-T department, however, stressed that it was not a political conspiracy. “The events involving certain MLAs of another state being brought to Karnataka were unforeseen and unpredictable events,” it said.
The Congress had disrupted proceedings in both Houses of the Parliament on Wednesday after the raids.
Undeclared emergency, says Lalu Prasad Yadav
Rashtriya Janata Dal Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav alleged that Shivakumar’s properties were searched on the orders of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reported ANI. He added that the government has imposed an undeclared emergency in the country.
I-T raid was not linked to the Rajya Sabha polls: Arun Jaitley
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday had said the I-Ts raid had nothing to do with the upcoming August 8 Rajya Sabha polls.
“It is true a search has been conducted on a minister of the Karnataka government and his associates,” said Jaitley. “The man whose house was being searched reached the resort. Since a person who was raided had to be confronted with the recoveries made from his premises, the tax department personnel went to the resort where he had been hiding. He was taken from there to his house. There is no tax department official at the resort.”
Jaitley added that the resort was not an area where the Karnataka minister could get “immunity from the law”.