Day 3: K'taka CM says I-T raids politically motivated
As the Income Tax raids at various properties linked to Karnataka Minister D K Shivakumar continued for the third consecutive day on Thursday, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah called it a "politically motivated" move on the part of the central government.
Raking up the issue of IT sleuths using CRPF during the searches, he also hit out at the BJP for calling it a fight against corruption, saying most of its own leaders were facing graft charges.
In a swoop down that has raised a political storm, the IT department on Wednesday began its searches on various properties linked to Shivakumar, who is hosting 44 Gujarat Congress MLAs at a resort on city outskirts to forestall alleged attempts by BJP to poach on them ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls.
Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, is locked in a bitter fight in the election.
During the searches at about 66 places across the country in connection with a case of alleged tax evasion, IT officials said they have seized cash and jewellery worth over Rs 15 crore have so far.
"This is a politically motivated raid; the timing also clearly shows that it is politically motivated," Siddaramaiah told reporters here.
He said "I'm not against the raid or search on any house, but the time that they have selected and the intention of the central government and the IT department..."
On Wednesday, Siddaramaiah in a statement had charged that the IT department action was an attempt to silence the voice against BJP.
Asked whether he feels that Shivakumar will come out clean, the Chief Minister on Thursday said "let us see, we do not know what has happened, what they have found during the searches, but according to me it is a politically motivated."
"He is a Minister. Taking reserve police to his house and other places is not fair," he said.
Without divulging any details, IT department sources said the searches at different places and questioning of the minister in this regard continued on Thursday also.
Questioning the motive behind IT sleuths going to the resort where MLAs are lodged, Siddaramaiah objected to the use of CRPF without keeping the state police in the loop.
Also, hitting back at the BJP for terming raids as fight against corruption, he said, "there are corruption charges against (union minister) Ananth Kumar, only inquiry is still going on."
"There are corruption charges against so many BJP leaders in Karnataka. Is Yeddyurappa (Karnataka party chief) not facing corruption charges?" he said.