On Thursday, the Income Tax officials went knocking on the doors of several influential politicians, businessmen and government officials in Karnataka. Late on Wednesday night, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy told the media that Income Tax officials would raid the homes of JD(S) leaders and their associates. Within a few hours, the I-T officials conducted search and survey operations across 28 locations in Bengaluru, Mandya, Hassan, Shivamogga and Kanakapura.
The Congress-JD(S) coalition has dubbed the raids as a political move by the BJP, which was indulging in â€śrevenge politicsâ€ť in order to â€śscare awayâ€ť opposition parties. In order to express their outrage, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Congress legislative party chief Siddaramaiah, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Dinesh Gundu Rao, Deputy CM Dr G Parameshwara and Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar held a protest outside the Income Tax Departmentâ€™s office in Bengaluru.
Dubbing the DG and IG of the Income Tax Department of Goa and Karnataka â€” Balakrishna as a BJP stooge, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy alleged that the chief of the I-T Department was corrupt.
â€śThe director who is here is not an honest officer. I know how many flats he owns in Mumbai and how he misused his power for personal gains. I am asking him not to be BJPâ€™s agentâ€¦ The leaders at the Centre have held backroom talks with him and promised him governorship after retirement,â€ť Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy alleged.
Kumaraswamy also claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP National President Amit Shah were using the state machinery and constitutional institutions to target opposition parties. Kumaraswamy also alleged that PM Modi and Amit Shah were on their way to change the Constitution of India.
â€śEver since the BJP came to power at the Centre, Narendra Modi has been misusing constitutional agencies. They are on their way to change the Constitution of India framed by Ambedkar and establish a dictatorship. We are not against Income Tax raids. We are against the fact that the purpose of the raids is to target opposition parties. That is what we are protesting,â€ť Kumaraswamy added.
Speaking to the media during the protest, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah questioned why the CRPF was brought in for the raids and why the state police force was not intimated about the I-T Departmentâ€™s search operation.
â€śWhen I-T raids are conducted, the state police protection is requested. Why was CRPF brought in? The countryâ€™s institutions are under threat. When a month ago, BJP leaders tried to bribe legislators with crores of rupees, did the I-T officers take note of it? Were they sleeping? Has it not come to their notice? Why have they not questioned how these leaders are getting the money to offer bribes? How many BJP leadersâ€™ homes have been raided? A local BJP leader sends lists to Amit Shah. That list is forwarded to the I-T department, which conducts raids,â€ť Siddaramaiah added.
Chief Minister Kumaraswamy also stated that the EC had seized Rs 2 crore in Shivamogga last week and had handed over the case to the I-T Department, which has not announced the leaders who were being investigated. Hinting that the money belonged to a BJP leader, Kumaraswamy said, â€śIn Hosanagar, election officers seized Rs 2 crore cash and handed over the case to the Income Tax Department. Why have you not publicised whose money it was? EC seized Rs 1.5 crore near Vidhana Soudha last week right. Why is I-T Dept not investigating whose money it was? They are indulging in petty politics to cow down the opposition parties.â€ť
Recalling the illegal mining scam involving Janardhana Reddy and BJP leaders, which had shaken the state in 2011, Kumaraswamy said that â€śtime and againâ€ť BJP leaders have â€śindulged in corrupt practicesâ€ť. â€śEveryone knows how corrupt BJP leaders in the state are. We all know how the BJP looted the state. They flew in officials in airplanes and booked 300 Ola cabs for them to conduct raids. The media is saying that Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is scared. My door is always open. Send anyone. I will welcome them,â€ť Kumaraswamy added.