Rs 15 cr cash, jewellery seized in I-T raids on K'taka minister
Cash and jewellery worth over Rs 15 crore have so far been seized by IT authorities as part of the ongoing searches at multiple premises linked to Karnataka Energy Minister D K Shivakumar and his associates in connection with a case of alleged tax evasion.
The minister, who has been overseeing the stay of 44 Gujarat Congress MLAs at a resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru, a senior official said, has also been confronted with certain documents seized by the sleuths during the raids and his statement would be recorded under the Income Tax Act.
The MLAs were brought to the Karnataka capital a few days back by the Congress over fears that they could be "poached" by the BJP in view of the August 8 Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat.
The raids are continuing at a number locations for the second day today and I-T sleuths seized a number of documents, account books and financial papers.
About Rs 8.33 crore cash has been seized from Delhi, Rs 2.5 from Bengaluru and Rs 60 lakh from Mysuru till now, a senior official said.
"About Rs 11.43 crore cash has been seized till now from various locations. Jewellery worth about Rs 4.4 crore has also been recovered. Some searches and surveys are still on," the official said.
Documents related to investments in real estate, including some alleged benami transaction, are being analysed by the department, the official said.
The tax department may share its findings against the minister and his associates with the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate for probe under the Anti-corruption Act and the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) respectively.
The IT department has said it is investigating Shivakumar in a case of alleged tax evasion and "huge" undisclosed investments in real estate, jewellery and other sectors.
Certain investments linked to him in Singapore and few other foreign locations are also under the scanner of the department, they said.
Some shell firms and their operatives allegedly linked to this case are also being probed, IT sources had said yesterday.
The IT department had swooped down on 64 locations and properties linked to Shivakumar yesterday, triggering a major political firestorm. Parliament was disrupted and Congress called the action "unprecedented witch hunt" to win one Rajya Sabha seat.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah alleged it was a politically motivated action to silence the voice against the BJP.
Shivakumar has been put in charge of 44 MLAs lodged in the Eagleton resort near here to keep the flock together and prevent the BJP from "poaching" on them ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat where Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, looks like facing a tough battle.
The ruling Congress in Karnataka will be holding a protest in the city later today against the raids on Shivakumar, accusing the Centre of "dictatorial" attitude and "murdering democracy".
Shivakumar, hailing from a modest agrarian family, rose to become an influential Vokkaliga community leader and also one of the wealthiest state ministers in the country.
According to the affidavit filed by him for the 2013 Assembly polls, he had assets worth over Rs 251 crore, including those in the names of his wife and children, and liabilities of over Rs 104 crore.
55-year old Shivakumar, considered a resourceful trouble shooter for the Congress with proximity to the party high command, is a six-time MLA. He is also known to harbour chief ministerial ambition.