I-T, Excise officials search Koliwad’s residence

K.B. Koliwad

K.B. Koliwad  


He is the Congress candidate for Ranebennur Assembly constituency

Hours after the deadline for public campaign for the byelections ended, the residence of Congress candidate for Ranebennur constituency and former Speaker K.B. Koliwad was searched by sleuths from the Income Tax and Excise departments on Tuesday night, triggering a snap protest by his supporters.

The search led to strong reactions from senior Congress leaders who accused the BJP of misusing official machinery and indulging in political vendetta. According to sources, the search at Mr. Koliwad’s residence in Ranebennur, Haveri district, was carried out reportedly based on a tip-off about alleged hoarding of huge quantity of cash and liquor. The search, by a team of around 20 officials and personnel, started around 10 p.m. and continued past midnight.

As the news spread about the search, a large number of supporters of Mr. Koliwad gathered outside his residence and resorted to a snap protest, accusing the BJP and Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai of indulging political vendetta. They alleged that out of fear of losing, the BJP government was using Central agencies to scare the Opposition candidates.

There has been no official communication yet from competent authorities of both the departments on whether anything was seized from the premises.

Mr. Koliwad, however, told presspersons that officials returned empty handed after the search. He said they did not find anything in his house and the whole act was the BJP’s ploy to restrict the Opposition during the byelection. “But they [the BJP] will not succeed,” he said.

Mr. Koliwad said that across the nation the BJP was misusing its office to target and harass Opposition leaders. “They are harassing leaders such as P. Chidambaram, D.K. Shivakumar, and other Congressmen. And now they have targeted me because of the fear of losing,” he said.

At a press conference in Haveri, the former Minister and Congress leader H.K. Patil alleged that Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and Mr. Bommai were misusing official administrative machinery to target Opposition party leaders ahead of the bypolls.

In Ranebennur, Prakash Koliwad, KPCC secretary and son of Mr. K.B. Koliwad, ridiculed the searchers and said the I-T sleuths had found no more than “two pairs of old sandals” at their residence.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 6:48:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/i-t-raids-at-residence-of-former-karnataka-speaker-koliwad/article30157581.ece

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