Income Tax department personnel on Tuesday conducted raids at premises owned by people believed to be linked to the ruling Janata Dal (Secular) party in Karnataka’s Mandya and Hassan districts, as well as in Bengaluru, PTI reported quoting a department statement. Janata Dal Secular chief and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda’s grandsons Nikhil Kumaraswamy and Prajwal Revanna are contesting the upcoming elections for the first time, from Mandya and Haasan.

Unidentified officials told the news agency that four teams accompanied by Central Reserve Police Force personnel conducted the searches at some offices, residences and factories in the state affiliated with the JD(S).

The department said it conducted the searches based on intelligence inputs about entrepreneurs who have not disclosed their income and who are in possession of undisclosed assets. “The taxpayers covered in today’s search operations are engaged in real estate, quarrying and stone crushing, executing government contracts, operating petrol bunks, saw mill and managing cooperative banks,” the statement said. “These are sectors which are prone to generation of black money.”

The ruling Janata Dal Secular-Congress coalition has accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre of “misusing central agencies to pursue its politics of vendetta”.

On March 28, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, former chief minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah and others from the coalition staged a demonstration against the department outside its office in Bengaluru. Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (Karnataka-Goa region) BR Balakrishnan had asked the state chief electoral officer to penalise those who protested, allegedly threatened officials and prevented the department from conducting its duties.

On April 10, the Election Commission pulled up the Department of Revenue for treating its advisory on enforcement action during the poll season in a “casual and trivial” manner, reported PTI. In its advisory, the poll body had asked the Department of Revenue to be neutral, impartial and non-discriminatory during enforcement action in the election season.