Siddaramaiah questions timing of I-T raids

A file photo of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

A file photo of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

Even as Income Tax Department sleuths continued their search at Energy Minster D.K. Shivakumar’s residence here for the third day on Friday, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah questioned the timing of the raids and the BJP’s moral right to demand the Minister’s resignation.

He termed the developments a “political conspiracy directed by” BJP national president Amit Shah. “I’m not against raids per se, but look at the timing of the raids,” he told presspersons, and pointed out that the raids had happened when Congress legislators from Gujarat were in a resort here and Mr. Shivakumar was with them.

Asked about Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Fertilizers Ananth Kumar’s statement that the raids were conducted to crack down on corruption, he said, “There are corruption charges against Ananth Kumar himself.” He said the BJP had no moral right to seek the resignation of Mr. Shivakumar.

On Thursday, Mr. Shivakumar’s mother had accused Mr. Siddaramaiah of failing to protect her son. However, D.K. Suresh, MP and brother of Mr. Shivakumar, said, “Everyone is supporting us. Senior leaders in the party have called us in support and told us the raid is a political vendetta.”

Sources said the Chief Minister took stock of I-T related developments and reportedly discussed the issue with his Cabinet colleagues.

Members of the Legal Cell of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee staged a protest in the city opposing I-T raids and “misuse” of I-T Department by the Union government. Congress workers shouted slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. They also burnt an effigy of Mr. Modi.

Don’t blame Shah, says BJP

The BJP has taken strong exception to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah accusing party national president Amit Shah of orchestrating the I-T raids on Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar.

In a statement, senior BJP leader S. Suresh Kumar described it as a “false, baseless and malicious” accusation and said that magnitude of the raids was a clear indication that they had not been planned in eight days. Mr. Kumar chided the Chief Minister for his “inexplicable silence for 59 hours” after the raids and “suddenly waking up from deep slumber”.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2022 5:21:47 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/siddaramaiah-questions-timing-of-i-t-raids/article19430773.ece