In a pre-dawn swoop Thursday, Income Tax officials along with CRPF personnel carried out raids at the residences of Karnataka Minor Irrigation Minister CS Puttaraju and his nephew. Also under the scanner were 17 contractors and seven officers, from the Public Works Department (PWD) and Irrigation Department, who are considered close aides of Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy's brother HD Revanna. Revanna is the state PWD minister and the Holenarasipur MLA.
The teams have been carrying out raids at multiple locations in Bengaluru, Hassan, Mandya and Mysuru districts. The development came a day after, Kumaraswamy raised fears about possible raids on Congress and JD(S) functionaries in the state.
Hon'ble PM @NarendraModi is misusing the IncomeTax Dept to threaten the political leaders of Karnataka from JDS and Congress during election time
They have planned to conduct IT raids on our important leaders.This is nothing but revenge politics.We will not be cowed down by this
— H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) March 27, 2019
He had claimed that CRPF personnel were brought from various parts of the country to carry out the raids. He claimed that the "revenge raids" may be carried out at 5 am Thursday.
"Raids on Congress and JD(S) leaders can take place early Thursday morning using CRPF jawans instead of taking the help of the Karnataka Police in order to maintain secrecy," Kumaraswamy had claimed on Wednesday.
A report in The Hindu confirmed this. The newspaper reported that the local police had no information about the operation. Hassan SP AN Prakash Gowda told The Hindu that he had no information about the I-T operations.
Insisting that he never believed in politics of vengeance, Kumaraswamy said he never came in the way of Anti-Corruption Bureau sleuths to raid corrupt officials.
Speaking to a private news channel, JD(S) leader Puttaraju said three teams of Income Tax officials and CRPF personnel carried out raids at his Chinnakurli residence in Mandya and his nephew's house in Mysuru.
"Three teams comprising of I-T officials and eight CRPF soldiers carried out raids at my Chinnakurli residence in Mandya and my nephew's residence in Mysuru," Puttaraju told the channel.
The minister said he was not afraid of the raids and instead, it had instilled confidence in him.
"I'm not deterred by the raids, which are election-related. I would like to know which BJP leader's house in Karnataka has been raided," Puttaraju, who is in-charge minister of Mandya district, said.
The JD(S) has assigned him to oversee the electioneering of HD Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil Kumaraswamy, who is fighting his maiden election from the Mandya Lok Sabha seat.
The chief minister had on Wednesday warned that he would follow what his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee did to counter the 'misuse' of central agencies.
Banerjee had staged a "Save the Constitution" dharna from 3 to 5 February in Kolkata after the CBI's failed bid to question Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection with chit fund cases.
Puttaraju said soon a meeting will be convened where the mode of protest against these raids will be decided.
Earlier, the Income Tax Department had arrested another Janata Dal (Secular) leader for defaulting on taxes. News18 reported that the arrested leader was Prabhakar Reddy, however, this could not be confirmed officially. The I-T department merely said it had arrested a taxpayer who had contested the Vidhana Sabha elections in the state on two occasions and the parliamentary elections once on the ticket of a prominent political party. Prabhakar was arrested after defaulting on paying taxes to the tune of Rs 5.4 crore.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Mar 28, 2019 11:31:22 IST