Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday, while speaking on the issue of the Income Tax department raids on locations linked to Karnataka minister DK Shivakumar, said that he was trying to destroy documents crucial for the probe.
The Income Tax department had on Wednesday morning conducted searches at multiple properties of the Karnataka energy minister, who was also overseeing the stay of 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat at Eagleton resort in Bengaluru, in connection with a tax evasion case.
"Now, a person whose home is being raided has to be consulted and questioned. That is why I-T department authorities went to the (Bengaluru) resort. When the officials reached the resort, they found that he was trying to tear up some documents," Jaitley said in Rajya Sabha.
The finance minister had also said that the searches had no connection with Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat. Giving a statement in Rajya Sabha, he had said that according to the information received from the I-T department, officials went there just to nab "one particular individual", referring to the Karnataka minister.
Officials privy to the early morning raids had said that the I-T sleuths reached the resort to question the minister, who was staying there for the night. He was then taken to his house in Bengaluru.
The department is investigating the charges of huge transfer of illegal funds. The I-T department had said that the timing of the search was decided well in advance.
Rs. 7.5 crore recovered during IT raids at two flats of Karnataka Minister DK Shivakumar in Delhi. pic.twitter.com/Au81NpKb4N
— ANI (@ANI_news) August 2, 2017
"The search is the continuation of an investigation which has been in progress for a considerable period of time. They added that the timing of the search was decided well in advance," the I-T department had said in a statement.
"The events involving certain MLAs of another state being brought to Karnataka were unforeseen and unpredictable events," the statement had stated. The search, described as an "evidence gathering exercise", was conducted by the Karnataka Investigation Wing of the Income Tax department.
"The search under Section 132 of the Income Tax Act is an evidence gathering exercise which is being carried 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," the I-T department had said.
The move has set off a political slugfest as the Congress is keeping its Gujarat MLAs in the Eagleton resort to prevent defection and horse-trading ahead of the Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls.
The raids also sparked a fresh political storm with Opposition creating ruckus in both the houses of Parliament. Congress had condemned the raids and called it political vendetta. Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, sought to know why the searches were being carried out now “and not a month later or before”. "What is happening in this country? This House as well as the Election Commission will have to ensure free and fair elections," he had said.
Later, Congress had also approached the Election Commission asking it to ensure the safety and security of its Gujarat MLAs staying in Eagleton resort.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Aug 03, 2017 13:53 PM