Kumaraswamy sees conspiracy in I-T raids at Karnataka leaders, dubs action as PM Modi’s ‘real surgical strike’

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Updated: March 28, 2019 5:05:05 PM

The chief minister had on Wednesday warned that he would follow what his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee did to counter the 'misuse' of central agencies.

Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru. (ANI)

Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has termed the Income Tax raids at Congress-JD(S) leaders and their associates in the state as a conspiracy by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Chief Minister’s outburst comes amid ongoing raids at the residences of Karnataka Minor Irrigation Minister C S Puttaraju and his nephew. Puttaraju confirmed to a private news channel that three teams of Income Tax officials and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel carried out raids at his Chinnakurli residence in Mandya and his nephew’s house in Mysuru, reported PTI.

Taking to Twitter to attack the PM over the predawn raids, Kumaraswamy slammed the Prime Minister for the use of government machinery to implement his politics of revenge. “PM Narendra Modi’s real surgical strike is out in the open through IT dept raids. The constitutional post offer for IT officer Balakrishna helped the PM in his revenge game. Highly deplorable to use govt machinery, corrupt officials to harass opponents during election time,” the Karnataka CM said today morning.

According to news agency PTI, Kumaraswamy said raids on JD(S) leaders overseeing the electioneering of his son Nikhil Kumaraswamy in Mandya and nephew Prajwal Revanna in Hassan was “politically motivated” and he would stage a demonstration against it in Bengaluru along with Congress leaders.

“I am going to stage a demonstration in Bengaluru. Let the whole nation see how the income tax department is being misused. These raids are politically motivated,” Kumaraswamy told reporters in Mysuru.

The pre-dawn raids at 15 to 20 places triggered an angry backlash from Congress as well as JD(S) leaders.

Asserting that he had predicted the raids Wednesday night itself, Kumaraswamy said for the first time the I-T officials raided government offices too, such as PWD office in Hassan and Tahsildar office in Kanakapura.

Accusing the principal chief commissioner of income tax department (Karnataka-Goa region) B R Balakrishnan of acting as a “political agent”, the chief minister said he was eyeing on a gubernatorial position post-retirement.

“A BJP leader sends list of people to Amit Shah, who eventually forwards it to Balakrishnan to carry out raids. Balakrishnan is acting as an agent of BJP. It seems that he wants a post-retirement position such as governor of some state,” PTI quoted Kumaraswamy as saying.

The chief minister had on Wednesday warned that he would follow what his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee did to counter the ‘misuse’ of central agencies.

Banerjee had staged a ‘Save the Constitution’ dharna from February 3-5 in Kolkata after the CBI’s failed bid to question Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection with chit fund cases.

Meanwhile, former chief minister and BJP state chief Yeddyurappa rubbished the charges, saying the Income Tax department was doing its duty and it should not be linked with politics.

On Thursday, in a pre-dawn swoop, IT officials along with CRPF personnel carried out raids at the residences of Karnataka Minor Irrigation minister C S Puttaraju and his nephew.

The raids were also carried out at the residences of PWD minister H D Revanna’s close associates Narayana Reddy, Ashwath Gowda and Raya Gowda in Hassan, sources said.

The income tax department in a press release in the wake of the chief minister’s statements to the press said no MP, MLA or minister had been covered in the searches and they were being carried out on the basis of credible information received.

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, said the release.

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