It seems there is no end to the parleys of charge and countercharge between the Income Tax Department and the ruling coalition in Karnataka. On Thursday, I-T raids were conducted on the campaign office and other locations in Bengaluru connected to Rizwan Arshad, the Congress-JD(S) candidate for the Bengaluru Central constituency. Most of the offices and buildings raided belong to businessmen close to him. The candidate has called it an ‘act of vendetta’ against him.
“The I-T raids that have been conducted at my campaign office and on some of my associates are harassment tactics that the BJP is using to try to cripple my campaign. I see these raids as a vendetta by the ruling party at the Centre. They have consistently been engaging in orchestrating I-T raids on several Congress leaders and opposition leaders, not only in Karnataka but also across the country,” he said.
“It shows that they are nervous and foresee defeat, which is why they are stooping to such low levels. It is a reflection of extreme insecurity of the BJP leadership. The Congress party will not be intimidated by such actions of the opposition. The people will give them a fitting reply as they are smart enough to see through their game plan,” he added.
Although the I-T Department is yet to issue an official statement, sources have confirmed that the three persons who were raided are Kamal Pasha, Amanullah Khan and Naeez Khan.
Thursday’s development comes a day after Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax in Karnataka asked Chief Electoral Officer, Sanjeev Kumar, to pursue criminal proceedings against Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and others, including ministers and political leaders
The Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues on March 28 in an unprecedented move had held a demonstration against the I-T in front of their Queens Road office in Bengaluru over alleged politically motivated raids. Other than the CM himself, others who participated in the protest were former CM Siddaramaiah, Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar, Deputy CM G Parameshwara and Tourism Minister SR Mahesh.
According to the I-T Department, searches on contractors and engineers involved in government contracts in the districts of Hassan, Mandya and Mysuru had unearthed unaccounted cash of Rs 8.14 crores and unaccounted jewellery worth Rs.1.69 crores.
They also clarified no person holding an office of an MLA, MLC or Minister, was searched.
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.”