For the third consecutive day, the Income Tax Department conducted raids at properties owned by Karnataka Energy Minister D K Shivakumar. Revealing the agency has raided 70 places till now, Shivakumar’s brother, D K Suresh, said the money seized — over Rs 15 crore in cash and jewellery — does not belong to the minister or his family. The IT department had begun conducting searches on Wednesday at the Eagleton Golf Resorts in Bengaluru where Shivakumar is overseeing 42 Gujarat MLAs, who were taken to the Congress-ruled state ahead of the August 8 Rajya Sabha elections.
“They have raided total 70 places. All that money doesn’t belong to D K Shivakumar or his family,” Suresh was quoted saying by ANI. “Everyone is supporting us. Senior leaders in the party have called us in support and told us it is a political vendetta,” he added. His comments come a day after Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah also claimed the timing of the raids suggested it was ‘politically motivated’.
Suresh said he had had a word with his mother, who had previously blamed Siddaramaiah for the raids on Shivakumar. “My mother said she is under (media) pressure. I have had word with her,” he said, reported ANI. “He (Shivakumar) is fine, he is taking rest,” he added.
Editorial | Targeting a political opponent on the eve of a crucial poll invites questions of the misuse of Central agencies.
The Congress, which called it a ‘witch-hunt’ by the BJP and questioned the timing of the raids, had raked up the issue in Parliament yesterday.
In the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, the Leader of the House, had denied any connection between the raids and the elections on Wednesday. “There has been no search (operation) at a resort… nor has any Gujarat MLA been searched by the department… there has been no contact (of the tax department) with them,” he said. “It is true, a search has been conducted on a minister of the Karnataka government and his associates… The man whose house was being searched reached the resort. Since a person continued on who was raided had to be confronted with the recoveries made from his premises, the tax department personnel got 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,” he had added.