BENGALURU: Income tax personnel raided multiple offices and residences belonging to Karnataka energy minister D K Shivakumar and his brothers on Wednesday morning, and at Eagleton Golf resort where 44 Congress Gujarat MLAs are staying.
The minister was whisked away from the resort after preliminary questioning.
The raids took place at minister’s residence in Kanakapura, Sadashivanagar and at rooms of Congress Party MLAs in the resort.
D K Shivakumar is fronting the Congress effort to protect Gujarat Congress MLAs from poaching by the BJP ahead of the Gujarat Rajya Sabha election on August 8.
According to sources, the Sadashivnagar residence of Shivkumar and the offices of two of his firms were searched by the officials.
Apart from it, the residence of his brother and MP D K Suresh was also raided.
Simultaneously, the minister's offices in Delhi were also inspected. Sources added that more than 200 officials are involved in the investigation.
Reacting to the incident, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah said, "IT raid is an attempt to silence voice against BJP, will not bow down to intimidation."
As per news agency PTI, I-T officials claimed of recovering Rs 7.5 crore cash from the minister's properties, who has been taken to his house in Bengaluru from the resort by the tax sleuths.
The searches are being conducted by the Karnataka Investigation Wing of the Income tax department. The Income Tax Department said in a press release that the searches were authorised under Section 132 of the Income Tax Act as an evidence gathering exercise.
The I-T Department denied that the raids had anything to do with the ongoing anti poaching drama at Eagleton resorts.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who is contesting the Rajya Sabha polls from Gujarat, slammed the I-T raids on the Karnataka Energy minister and accused the BJP of indulging in an "unprecedented witch-hunt" to win one Rajya Sabha seat.
"The timing of the search was decided well in advance. The events involving certain MLAs of another state being brought to Karnataka were unforeseen and unpredictable events," the press release said.
It added that the "Minister being searched was staying at a resort near Bangalore where some MLAs from another state are put up. Hence the Minister’s room alone is being searched."
According to sources, D K Shivakumar, his brother and Bengaluru Rural MP D K Suresh, and MLC S Ravi, who is said to be a relative of the minister, were questioned at Eagleton Resort by IT officials.
Protesting against the raid, Congress MPs shouted slogans in Rajya Sabha, forcing an adjournment till 2 PM today.
"Don't link IT raids on Karnataka minister to Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat," said Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Lok Sabha.
He also confirmed that no I-T searches were conducted at the Eagleton Golf resort.
Shivakumar was the 'caretaker' of Gujarat Congress MLAs at the resort near Bidadi, in the outskirts of Bengaluru. The Gujarat MLAs were flown in by Congress high command to the State, after allegations of horse-trading ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls.
(With Inputs From PTI)