Bengaluru: Officials of Income Tax Department early in the morning on Wednesday conducted searches at multiple locations in Karnataka and Delhi related to Karnataka Energy minister D K Shivakumar, who is hosting 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat at a resort near here, in connection with a tax evasion probe case.
Qouting an unnamed IT official news agency PTI said a team of I-T sleuths have also reached the Eagleton resort near here to question the minister, who was staying at the resort for the night.
"The resort is not being raided," the officials said.
The raids triggered anger from the Congress, which accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party of carrying out “an unprecedented witch-hunt”, and said it would raise the issue in both houses of Parliament later in the day.
The party has accused the BJP of using “power, money and muscle” to engineer defections in Gujarat, following which 42 legislators were taken to a resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru last week. If more Congress lawmakers from Gujarat break ranks, it could jeopardise the Rajya Sabha prospects of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel.
"First Rajya Sabha election was postponed,Second NOTA was permitted post notification. Reasons best known to the Election Commission", Ahmed Patel said in a tweet.
In another tweet the Congress leader and close aide of Sonia Gandhi said, "BJP is on an unprecedented witch-hunt just to win one Rajya Sabha seat."
BJP is on an unprecedented witch-hunt just to win one Rajya Sabha seat— Ahmed Patel (@ahmedpatel) August 2, 2017
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 August 8.
The Congress rushed the lawmakers to Bengaluru late on Friday night after six lawmakers quit the party in Gujarat ahead of the Rajya Sabha election.
According to media report, the officials of the Income Tax department also visited the resort to question Shivakumar, in addition to raiding multiple properties linked to him with the help of central paramilitary forces. The resort was not raided.
The I-T department issued a statement denying the raids were related to the stay of the Gujarat MLAs. It said the searches were part of an evidence-gathering exercise.
“The search is a continuation of an investigation which has been in progress for a considerable period of time,” the department said.