Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Wednesday slammed BJP after Income-Tax department raided on locations linked to Karnataka Energy minister DK Shivakumar, owner of the resort where 44 Gujarat MLAs are currently residing. Patel accused the BJP of indulging in an “unprecedented witch-hunt” to win one Rajya Sabha seat. Patel, who is contesting the Rajya Sabha polls from Gujarat, said the I-T raids on the Congress minister, shows the utter desperation and frustration of BJP. “After using the state machinery and every other agency, these I-T raids show their utter desperation and frustration,” he said on Twitter.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala too slammed BJP after raids. “Attempt was made to bribe legislators in Gujarat; when everything failed, a frustrated BJP Govt now resorting to IT raids on Congress,” Surjewala said. Anand Sharma, another senior Congress leader, accused BJP of blatantly misusing state machinery for personal political gains. “It is now becoming a trend to blatantly misuse powers of the state,” Sharma said Rajya Sabha. “The minister & his brother, an elected representative coordinating in the stay of Gujarat MLAs that is why it is a targeted timing,” Sharma added. While NDA ministers defended their decision. “Niyam sab ke liye ek hota hai.Congress ke paap ka ghada bhar chuka hai (Rules are same for everyone, Congress has reached the limits of wrongdoings),” Dharmendra Pradhan,Union Minister on IT, said. Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley also spoke on the issue, “no search has taken place in the resort as such and no MLA was searched, only one particular Karnataka minister was searched,” he said in Rajya Sabha.
In what took Congress by surprise, Income Tax Department on Monday conducted searches at multiple locations in Karnataka and Delhi related to energy minister D K Shivakumar in connection with a tax evasion probe case. Shivakumar is the same Congress lawmaker, who is hosting the party MLAs from Gujarat at a resort near Bengaluru. Patel, who is also Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary, is re-contesting the Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat.