Nearly two weeks after Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and other Karnataka ministers went on protest over Income Tax raids, it has come to light that the I-T Department has requested the Election Commission to pursue criminal proceedings against the CM and others.
A letter dated April 5 written by Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Karnataka and Goa Region BR Balakrishna to the Chief Electoral Officer Sanjeev Kumar to this effect has come to light. The I-T Department has asked EC to approach Karnataka Police Chief, the Director General and Inspector General of Police Neelamani Raju over the matter.
The letter stated, “When persons occupying high public offices, including constitutional posts, make false statements and voluntary instigate, and involve themselves in, such criminal activities with the sole purpose of adversely affecting the processes of the law and preventing government officials from discharging their duties, such activities and statements criminally intimidate and harm the personnel of the Department with greater intensity .”
It added, “It is in this background that the present complaint is being filed, with a request to take appropriate against the persons named hereinabove for the commission of various cognizable and other criminal offences.”
Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Deputy CM G Parameshwara, former CM Siddarmaiah and Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar along others had held a protest outside the I-T Department’s office on Queen’s Road office in Bengaluru on March 28.
The protests were against the alleged selective probe by the I-T officials against leaders of the Congress-JD(S) alliance at the behest of the BJP at Centre. A day before the raids were carried out, the CM had alleged that he was expecting I-T searches to be carried out with the intention of helping the BJP.
Besides the protest, the I-T Department has also objected to the statements given by the leaders of the coalition against the raids.
The letter stated that the I-T Department had conducted a search on contractors and engineers involved in government contracts, and in the districts of Hassan, Mandya and Mysuru officials had unearthed unaccounted cash of Rs 8.14 crores and unaccounted jewellery worth Rs.1.69 crores based on credible information.
The Department also seized documents which prima facie depict withdrawals of large amounts of cash from the state treasury by such contractors and engineers. No person holding any political office such as that of MLA, MLC or Minister, was searched in the aforesaid proceedings, the letter states.
“On 27.03.2019, as is forthcoming from electronic media, Shri. H.D. Kumaraswamy, the incumbent Chief Minister, stated that the Department was intending to conduct search proceedings on politicians belonging to the ruling coalition,” the letter stated.
“That such statements were made by a person who was unconnected with the search proceedings itself demonstrates the malafide intent that is, to scuttle the Department's processes,” it further stated.
The various sections of the Indian Penal Code under which I-T Department has sought actions are.
143 - Punishment for being a member of an unlawful assembly section
149 -Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object
504- Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace
505- Statements conducing to public mischief
506-Punishment for criminal ti intimidation
186- Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions;
187- Omission to assist it public servant when bound by law to give assistance
189- Threat of injury to a public servant
Karnataka goes to polls in two phases – on April 18 and April 23.