Karnataka

I-T searches leave Congress leaders in Karnataka jittery

A scene at the residence of D.K. Shivakumar during the I-T raid in Bengaluru on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

The Income-Tax raids on the premises of Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar and his close aides have sent shockwaves among leaders of the ruling Congress in Karnataka, with apprehensions of taxmen soon knocking on their doors.

Holding a press meet even as the raids were on, Water Resources Minister M.B. Patil lashed out at the Modi Government for “misusing the I-T officials” and said, “I am next in line. The I-T department is being misused for political witch-hunting.”

Several Ministers and KPCC functionaries held separate press conferences stating that the raids were part of an all-out effort to demoralise the Siddaramaiah Government ahead of the 2018 Assembly poll.

Congress MLAs at the Eagleton resort in Bengaluru when I-T officials arrived for raids.

Congress MLAs at the Eagleton resort in Bengaluru when I-T officials arrived for raids.   | Photo Credit: G. Sampath Kumar

 

Mr. Patil’s was among the names which allegedly figured in the seized pages of the diary of K. Govindaraj, an influential MLC and close confidant of the Chief Minister whose house was raided in March 2016. Several other names (or initials linked to Ministers), purportedly showing a money trail to leaders in Delhi, were also allegedly mentioned in the diary pages. A few months ago, I-T raids were conducted on the residences of Minister Ramesh Jharkiholi, KPCC women’s wing president Lakshmi Hebbalkar and Congress MLA M.T.B. Nagaraj.

 

Diary seizure

The case against Mr. Shivakumar has its roots in the diary seized during the raid on Mr. Govindaraj, I-T sources said. The diary, contents of which were allegedly leaked to sections of the media, had initials allegedly referring to several Congress leaders and the election funds they mobilised.

A CRPF man stands on guard during the I-T raids in Bengaluru on August 2, 2017.

A CRPF man stands on guard during the I-T raids in Bengaluru on August 2, 2017.  

 

Five Ministers including Mr. Shivakumar were summoned by the I-T department in connection with the case in December 2016. All of them including Mr. Govindaraj denied they had anything to do with the diary.

I-T sources said the Minister was on their radar from then and that he is not the only Karnataka Congress leader they are probing into. Recent I-T raids against Ms. Hebbalkar also yielded information about Mr. Shivakumar’s alleged interests in several sectors, the sources said.

Money recovered from Karnataka Minister D.K. Shivakumar’s residence in New Delhi. Photo: Special Arrangement

Money recovered from Karnataka Minister D.K. Shivakumar’s residence in New Delhi. Photo: Special Arrangement  

 

“The search under Section 132 of the Income Tax Act is an evidence gathering exercise, which is being carried out in compliance with all statutory requirements. The search is the continuation of an investigation, which has been in progress for a considerable period of time,” a statement from the I-T Department said. Search operations were conducted on the premises of a city-based public listed realty firm, a private bus transport firm and an export firm that mainly dealt with gold.


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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 7:53:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/i-t-searches-leave-congress-leaders-in-karnataka-jittery/article19410150.ece

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