Tension prevailed in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur town after Income Tax sleuths conducted a raid on Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MP Galla Jayadev's residence late on Tuesday night. The move was condemned by the TDP, as party workers marched to the District Collector’s office and staged a protest. Jayadev is the Managing Director of the Amara Raja Group and is one of the richest politicians in the state.
Speaking to ANI, party spokesperson Lanka Dinakar said, “I-T department shouldn't conduct such raids without proper intimation to Election Commission. We don't know whether these raids are happening with EC's approval or just on instructions of Modi-led union government as per orders given by (YSRCP chief) Jagan Mohan Reddy.”
L Dinakaran, TDP on IT raid at residence of Galla Jayadev: IT Dept shouldn't conduct such raids without proper intimation to EC, we don't know whether these raids are happening with EC's approval or just on instructions of Modi led union govt as per list given by Jaganmohan Reddy pic.twitter.com/xNJez0FoOy— ANI (@ANI) April 9, 2019
“Why are they harassing us? What have we done? Why only TDP leaders and supporters are being raided like this? Prime Minister Narendra Modi has no respect for democratic institutions. He is using them as political weapons; whether it is the I-T department or EC. It is not good for democracy,” the TDP MP told reporters.
He stated that raids were conducted in three places, and that a chartered accountant hired by him to go through his accounts before the polls was being questioned.
“Modi, Jagan and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao have colluded to weaken the democratic process and manipulate the elections to ensure Jagan’s win. This is proof,” the MP added.
Last week, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu sat on a dharna in Vijayawada, hours after the Andhra Pradesh police conducted a search on TDP MP CM Ramesh’s house in Kadapa district. Naidu sat in protest along with Vijayawada MP Kesineni Srinivas and other senior leaders of the TDP after garlanding a statue of BR Ambedkar. He alleged that searches were taking place on the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and accused him or arm-twisting the Election Commission of India.
Before the searches that were held on Ramesh’s residence, the house of another senior TDP leader and Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Trust Board Chairman Putta Sudhakar Yadav was searched in Proddatur in Kadapa district. The series of searches on its senior leaders ahead of the elections comes as a set back to the ruling party, but Naidu, by claiming that they were politically motivated, is trying to swing public opinion in his favour.
Andhra Pradesh will go for simultaneous Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly polls on April 11.