MYSURU/MANDYA: Less than a few hours after Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy hinted at income tax sleuths preparing for large scale raids in the State, the houses of relatives of Minor Irrigation and Mandya in-charge minister CS Puttaraju were raided on Wednesday. During the day, the raids also spread to many other locations and primarily seemed to target contractors.
I-T sleuths who came in several vehicles during the pre-dawn hours knocked on Puttaraju's relative's houses located at his native Chinukarali in Pandavapura taluk and also in Pandavapura town. The house of his nephew Ashok, a Class one contractor at Vijayanagar in Mysuru city, was raided too. The raids sparked protests by Puttaraju's followers who had gathered at Chinakurali.
The house of a businessman, who runs a popcorn business, were also raided late last night in Bengaluru and as per sources, these raids will continue.
In Shivamogga, two car showrooms, owned by a close aide of HD Devegowda, were raided. Speaking to media, a peeved Puttaraju said the raids were politically targeting JDS leaders. He also blamed independent candidate from Mandya LS seat Sumalatha Ambareesh.
Puttaraju is in the coterie of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and he is also handling the campaign of the latter's son Nikhil Kumaraswamy who is contesting LS polls from Mandya as JD(S)-Congress' consensus candidate.
The development came a day after Kumaraswamy raised fears about possible raids on Congress and JDS functionaries in the state. He had claimed that CRPF personnel were brought from various parts of the country to carry out the raids in the state. "I'm not deterred by the raids, which are election-related. I would like to know which BJP leader's house in Karnataka has been raided," Puttaraju, who is the in-charge minister of Mandya district, said.
Meanwhile, large scale protests broke out at the Central Revenue buildings in Bengaluru against the raids. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is likely to join in the protests later in the afternoon.
The Income Tax department on Thursday afternoon clarified that searches were being carried out by the Income Tax department in Karnataka and Goa on contractors and connected persons. However, it said that no Member of Parliament or Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) had been covered so far in the searches.
"While it is true that CRPF is being used for providing security, the said Central armed personnel were requisitioned from the State Police (ADGP Law and Order) following normal protocol and have not been flown in outside the state," a statement by the office of the Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax said.
Karnataka: Income-Tax raids are underway at residence of JD(S) leader & Karnataka Minor Irrigation Minister CS Puttaraju in Mandya pic.twitter.com/BrEX9LBnOa— ANI (@ANI) March 28, 2019
"We also request that the activities of the income tax department should not be politicised, personalised or trivialised. In the particular statements which sound like an incitement to physical violence issued by persons holding very responsible posts are deeply deplorable," the statement said.