Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday questioned the timing of the Income Tax (IT) raids, which continued the third day on the state Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar, his relatives and aides in the city, state and Delhi.
"I am not against raids per se but look at their timing and the use of central (para-military) forces for it, which undermines our federal structure," Siddaramaiah told reporters in Bengaluru.
Dubbing again the raids 'politically motivated' by the central government, the Chief Minister alleged that the rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had no moral right to say the searches were a fight against corruption when so many of its leaders were facing serious graft charges.
Asked if Shivakumar would be able to come clean on the charges of tax evasion and amassing benami properties worth crores of rupees, Siddaramaiah said he was not aware what was happening at the places where raids were underway to react.
"We do not know anything about the raids, what they (tax sleuths) found during the searches and his interrogation," reiterated the official.
Though the IT Department remained mum on the raids at several locations, informed sources said the searches led to recovery of many incriminating documents, property records, cash, gold and jewellery valued at Rs 15 crore.
"As raids are being carried simultaneously by about 100-150 officers in the city, across the state and elsewhere (Delhi), we cannot divulge or share any information now. Our higher authorities will decide when to do," an IT official told IANS on the condition of anonymity.
Defending the deployment of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) for the raids, the official said under section 132 of the Income Tax Act, the IT department was empowered to use them (CRPF) for the protection of the search teams.
"This is not the first time their (CRPF) services are used for such raids at multiple locations as they involve risk from those being searched or their people," reiterated the official but declined to be identified, as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
"He is a Minister. Taking reserve police to his house and other places is not fair," the CM quipped.