I-T dept raids continue on Karnataka energy minister’s properties
While Rs 8.33 crore was seized in Delhi, Rs 2.5 crore was recovered from Bengaluru and Rs 60 lakh from Mysore, officials in the I-T department told HT.Updated: Aug 03, 2017, 22:49 IST
The Income Tax department continued its searches on Karnataka energy minister D K Shivakumar’s properties in Delhi, Bengaluru and Mysore for the second consecutive day on Thursday, a move that has triggered a political storm, with the Congress accusing the BJP of witch-hunt ahead of Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel is locked in a tight contest for the third seat from Gujarat due to rebellion by six party MLAs who resigned and apprehension of a few more joining them.
Shivakumar was looking after 42 Congress MLAs from Gujarat who have been shifted to a luxury resort near Bengaluru to avoid a break in their ranks.
I-T officials said that since the search operation was still on, there was no clear estimate of the total amount seized. Search papers from Bengaluru revealed that no cash was seized in the raids till Wednesday night.
“Searches are still on at all these places and it is difficult at this point to give an estimate of how much more will be recovered,” said a senior official of the department, who did not wish to be identified.
Officials said several bank lockers of the Congress leader have also been blocked though taxmen are yet to ascertain the amount and items in them.
The department said the search is a continuation of an investigation which has been in progress for a considerable period of time and its timing was decided well in advance, in a bid to refute Congress’s allegations of “witch-hunting” targeted at the energy minister.
Searches were carried out under Section 132 of the Income Tax Act “as an evidence gathering exercise which is being carried in compliance with all statutory requirements”.
“This is part of our operation against black money…there is no other agenda,” the official added.
The Congress has accused the BJP of using “money and muscle power” to engineer defections among its legislators in Gujarat.