The Income Tax Department on Wednesday conducted searches at multiple locations in Karnataka and Delhi related to Karnataka Energy minister DK Shivakumar. He is hosting 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat at a resort near Bengaluru, in connection with a tax evasion probe case. Officials privy to the early morning raids said a team of I-T sleuths have also reached the Eagleton resort near Bengaluru to question the minister, who was staying at the resort for the night.
A total of 39 premises of the minister and his family are being raided by a team of about 120 Income Tax Department officials with the aid of central paramilitary forces, they said. The department is also investigating charges of alleged role of money power and huge transfer of illegal funds for these polls. The Congress and BJP leaders lashed out at each other over the issue. While the Congress cried foul, alleging that the central government was engaging in vendetta politics, BJP said that the I-T department’s action was a “purely professional activity.”
Shivakumar is hosting his party’s MLAs from Gujarat who have been brought to the Bengaluru resort till the day of the Rajya Sabha elections on 8 August. The Congress legislators were taken to the resort after six of their colleagues quit the party. Six of the 57 Congress MLAs in Gujarat, from where senior party leader Ahmed Patel is contesting for the Rajya Sabha, resigned from the party in the last few days with three joining the BJP on Friday last ahead of the Rajya Sabha poll.
The party has apprehensions over Patel’s election prospects, if more MLAs defect.