National

Pre-dawn I-T Dept searches rattle JDS-Congress coalition in Karnataka

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on March 28, 2019 Published on March 28, 2019

(from left) Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, Congress leaders Dinesh Gundu Rao, Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar staging a protest in front of the Income Tax Office in Bengaluru on Thursday   -  Somashekar GRN

CM calls it revenge politics; I-T Department clarifies that searches of contractors and connected persons, not MPs or MLAs

Pre-dawn searches by the Income Tax Department on several persons, including a Karnataka minister, has rattled the JDS-Congress coalition in the State.

Following the searches conducted at 17 places in Mandya, Hassan, Mysuru and Bengaluru, the JDS cried foul and alleged it was politically-motivated. .

Minister targeted

Many people close to the Congress and the JDS, including Minor Irrigation Minister CS Puttaraju, who represents the Melukote constituency, were subjected to searches.

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy was the first to raise the issue on Wednesday night. “Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi is misusing the Income Tax department to threaten political leaders of Karnataka from JDS and Congress during election time. He is planning I-T raids on our leaders. This is nothing but revenge politics. We will not be cowed down by this,” he had said.

After the searches, Kumaraswamy charged that “Narendra Modi's real surgical strike is out in the open through I-T department raids. The I-T officer heading the raids was offered a constitutional post to carry out this revenge game. Highly deplorable to use government machinery and corrupt officials to harass opponents during election time.”

He staged a dharna to register his protest.

As reports of the I-T departments action spread, JDS workers launched protests against the department by blocking major highways connecting Mandya. Party workers blocked the traffic on the Srirangapatna-Bidar highway and the Mysuru-KR Pet main road.

Later in the evening, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar and other Congress/JDS leaders came out in support of Kumaraswamy. A large number of party workers also staged a dharna by blocking the road outside the IT department office in Bengaluru, throwing traffic out of gear.

I-T Dept clarification

Later in the day, the Income Tax office, Karnataka and Goa area, clarified that it had conducted searches at residences, properties and offices of several contractors and connected persons. It is a routine action after getting credible evidence of tax evasion and no residence or office of Members of Parliament or Karnataka Legislature members was targeted, it said.

The department acknowledged that CRPF personnel were used for providing security and that they were requisitioned through the State Police (ADGP) Law and Order following normal protocol and have not been flown in from outside the State.

Published on March 28, 2019
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor