The crackdown came within a day after Kumaraswamy claimed Wednesday night that the I-T raids had been planned from 5 am on Thursday.
The BJP Friday demanded that Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy immediately step down as he “disclosed to the people beforehand” about the income tax raids in the state. The saffron party alleged that the conduct of the chief minister went against the oath of secrecy he had taken while assuming the office.
“You have no authority to continue (as the chief minister). You must resign. How can you put obstacles on a secret operation by the income tax department, Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate? Your conduct is against the Constitution and the federal system of the country,” BJP spokesperson Go Madhusudan told a press conference. He was reacting to the ruling Congress-JDS alliance’s allegations that the I-T raids were carried out on JD(S) leaders overseeing the elections of Kumaraswamy’s son, Nikhil, in Mandya and nephew Prajwal Revanna in Hassan.
The crackdown came within a day after Kumaraswamy claimed Wednesday night that the I-T raids had been planned from 5 am on Thursday. Madhusudan said, “You (Kumaraswamy) have taken the oath of secrecy too. When you had information about the raids, how can you leak it? By holding press conference, you belled the cat so that rats can escape.” He also sought to know when did “corrupt contractors” become JD(S) relatives when the I-T department made it clear in its statement to the media Thursday that a few bureaucrats, contractors and builders were among those raided.
“Give us account of the money you have stashed with the contractors. That is the taxpayers’ money,” Madhusudan added. “The searches were carried out on a wide range of professions and businesses including bureaucrats, breweries, MNCs, mining barons, diagnostic centres, trusts, educational institutions, medical colleges, real estate, fisheries, and film industry and including “politically exposed persons,” the I-T department had said.
Income Tax sleuths Thursday carried out pre-dawn raids at 15 to 20 locations including Bengaluru, Mandya, Mysuru, Hassan, Ramanagar and Shivamogga. Congress and JD(S) leaders led by Kumaraswamy, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, former chief minister Siddaramaiah and other top functionaries had staged a demonstration near the I-T office against the raids.
Kumaraswamy even called the raids “political vendetta by the Centre” and accused the income tax officials of working like “BJP’s agent”. Meanwhile, searches continued in some parts of the state, sources in the I-T department said. They, however, refused to divulge details.