Rajya Sabha sees adjournments, protests over I-T raids in Karnataka
Tax officials have raided multiple properties linked to DK Shivakumar, a Karnataka minister who is hosting a group of party legislators from Gujarat to avoid a break in their ranks ahead of a close Rajya Sabha election.Updated: Aug 02, 2017, 22:26 IST
Noisy protests broke out in Parliament on Wednesday as the Congress confronted the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party over Income Tax raids carried out in the morning on one of its ministers in the Karnataka government.
Karnataka’s energy minister DK Shivakumar is hosting legislators from Gujarat, who were shifted out of the state last week to thwart a string of defections. Tax officials swooped down on properties linked to Shivakumar on Wednesday morning, prompting the Congress to accuse the BJP of orchestrating it to intimidate its leaders.
“Conduct raids on residences of those people from your party (BJP) who are offering Rs 15 crores,” leader of the opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad told finance minister Arun Jaitley in Rajya Sabha, which was adjourned at least thrice till 2pm.
In Lok Sabha, which also saw angry reactions from Congress members, Jaitley rejected the charges and said that the resort, where the Congress MLAs were lodged, had not been raided. He insisted that the minister was searched and he happened to be at the resort.
“There was no search in the resort, no tax officer is at the resort. Thirty-nine locations were searched,” Jaitley said.
According to the Union finance minister, Shivakumar went to the resort when his house was being searched. “When the IT officials conduct searches, the person is confronted and questioned. That is why the IT officials went after him…He was tearing documents there which have been recovered and made a part of the pachnama,” he told the Lower House.
Forty-two Congress legislators were flown to Bengaluru from Ahmedabad last week after six of their colleagues resigned, threatening the prospects of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel’s election. The Congress has accused the BJP from of engineering the defections, poaching them ahead of the August 8 Rajya Sabha bypoll. Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel is contesting in the election for the fifth term from Gujarat.
Opposition parties such as the Trinamool Congress, Left and other outfits joined the Congress, as the anti-BJP camp tried to portray the raids as part of the government’s politics of vengeance.
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma questioned the timing of the raid, which came less than a week before the biennial elections. “There is a trend now of abusing state power and agencies of the state. The timing is important and significant. This minister was coordinating the safety of the (Congress) MLAs.”
Members in the BJP hit back. “Corruption ko ye kranti samajhte hain, nakhun kaat kar shaheed banna bandh karo (They thing corruption is revolution. Stop pretending to be martyrs by cutting nails,” Union minister MA Naqvi told protesting Congress leaders in the Rajya Sabha.