Karnataka Energy Minister DK Shivakumar has come under the scanner from the Income Tax Department once again.
In the wee hours of Wednesday, the Income Tax Department conducted search and seizure operations at 10 different properties belonging to DK Shivakumar in Bengaluru, Chennai and New Delhi.
The latest raid comes less than a month after I-T officials raided properties belonging to the Energy Minister, his brother and MP DK Suresh, and MLC S Ravi. Many had then questioned the timing of the raids, calling it “political witch hunt” given that DK Shivakumar had helped house around 100 Congress MLAs from Gujarat ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections.
The tax sleuths on Wednesday also raided the home of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee Secretary, Vijay Mulugund, located in Bengaluru’s Rajajinagar. Vijay Mulgund is said to be DK Shivakumar’s close aide.
“Documents were seized during the previous search and seizure operation and there was a lead that money was exchanged between Vijay Mulugund and the Energy Minister,” the source said.
A source told TNM that the department was following up on the leads obtained after the August 2 raids conducted.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah termed the raids an attempt to tarnish the reputation of Congress leaders ahead of the 2018 Assembly Elections.
"If they have proof and then conduct I-T raids, we have no problem. But knowing that the elections are coming up, they are targeting only Congress leaders to blemish their reputation. This is political vendetta," Siddaramaiah told media persons.
Following the three-day raids in early August, DK Shivakumar had then stated that he was innocent and that he had nothing to hide.
The BJP has, however, earlier claimed that Rs 300 crore was seized from various properties belonging to DK Shvakumar during the raids.
The saffron party had also claimed that the Director General of Income Tax had seized undeclared assets including jewellery worth Rs 15 crore and a huge stash of incriminating documents during the operations.
“Our teams have audited the documents and other recoveries from over 60 locations that were searched for the alleged tax evasion and illegal wealth in disproportionate to their income source,” an I-T official had told TNM during the earlier raids.