The Income Tax officials along with the CRPF raided residences of Karnataka’s Minor Irrigation Minister C S Puttaraju and his nephew in the wee hours of Thursday.
JD(S) leader Puttaraju, who is believed to be a close aide of Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Revanna, said three teams of Income Tax officials and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel carried out raids at his Chinnakurli residence in Mandya and his nephew’s house in Mysuru.
The raids were carried out a day after Karnataka CM, Kumaraswamy had raised fear of possible Income Tax raids on Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) functionaries ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
The CM had claimed that CRPF personnel have been brought in from various parts of the country to assist Income Tax officials in executing the raids which according to him were targeted at opposition leaders. “I have received specific information that 200-300 CRPF personnel have been brought in to conduct raids at 5 am on Thursday,” he said yesterday.
Kumaraswamy, however, cautioned that he would not shy away from pulling off a Mamata if the centre continued to indulge in “politics of vendetta” to weaken opponents ahead of the elections. “I know the game that Income Tax officials are playing in this final stage of the election. They should exercise caution. They will end up repenting if they continue to act as agents of a political party,” he had said. He also warned that he would use “Mamata Banerjee’s tactics” against any Income Tax official conducting raids on Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) functionaries.
Last month, a five-member CBI team that reached the residence of the Kolkata top cop to question him on the Rose Valley and Saradha ponzi scams were briefly detained on the orders of the West Bengal Chief Minister. Mamata later staged a dharna in Kolkata to protest the Narendra Modi government’s alleged vindictiveness towards opposition-ruled states.
Kumaraswamy had also accused that instead of taking the help of the Karnataka Police the CRPF has been used in the raids in order to maintain the mission’s secrecy.
Meanwhile, Karnataka’s Minor Irrigation Minister C S Puttaraju was quoted by a news channel as saying that, “Three teams of I-T officials and CRPF soldiers comprising eight soldiers carried out raids at my Chinnakurli residence in Mandya and my nephew’s residence in Mysuru.”
The minister said he was not afraid of the raids and instead, it had instilled confidence in him. “I’m not deterred by the raids, which are election-related. I would like to know which BJP leader’s house in Karnataka has been raided,” Puttaraju, who is an in-charge minister of Mandya district, said.
Alongside, the IT officials also began search operations at residences belonging to three contractors, Narayana Reddy, Ashwath Narayana and Raya Gowda in Channarayapatna town, said to be close associates of PWD minister HD Revanna, on Thursday morning.
They also conducted similar search operations in the office and residence of PWD executive engineer, CS Manju in Hassan. It is believed that these contractors got many road works from PWD in the coalition government. The local police, however, were not aware of any such operations.
Sources in the Karnataka Congress said raids have been carried out at least 10 to 15 places in the city and elsewhere, without giving details. They alleged that the Income Tax department, the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI now seemed to have the sole aim of propelling the BJP to victory. “This is the first time in the history of India that a Prime Minister has misused autonomous institutions with such flagrant disregard. The people will teach him a lesson,” they said.