The Income Tax department has carried out a series of raids on close aides of Janata Dal-Secular leaders in Mandya and Hassan districts of Karnataka ahead of the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections.
According to reports, on the early hours of Tuesday, the IT officers carried out raids on at least five people known to be close aides of JDS strongman HD Revanna, brother of Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy and Minister CS Puttaraju. The IT officials have also conducted raids on the residence of a close relative of the HD Devegowda family in Haradanahalli village.
A team of 15 IT officials has also raided HD Revanna’s close aides Karle Indresh and former MLC Patel Shivaram in the Hassan city. Reportedly, another team has also conducted raids on the saw-mill in Pandavapura, Mandya belonging to a close aide of the minister CS Puttaraju. It is being reported that the raids are being carried out on contractors related to JD(S) leaders over allegations of laundering money.
Raids are also being carried out in Maddur, at the residence, and business premises of Zilla Parishad President and CM Kumaraswamy’s close aide Nagarathna Swamy and that of Zilla Parishad member Timme Swamy.
The IT raid at Hassan and Mandya comes at the backdrop of a recent audio clip that had gone viral, in which two people allegedly belonging to JDS were discussing strategies to win the Mandya Lok Sabha elections. In the audio, one of the JDS leaders was caught saying that JDS was intended to distribute at least Rs.5 lakh per booth, which amounted to an election expense of about Rs.150 crores to secure the victory JDS candidate Nikhil Kumaraswamy against actor-turned-politician Sumalatha Ambareesh.
Following these reports, the IT officials seem to have taken precautionary measures against the use of money power in the Lok Sabha elections. Earlier in this month, the IT officials had also carried out similar raids on the close aides of HD Revanna in Hassan and CS Puttaraju in Mandya.
The JDS headed by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is facing an uphill task in both Hassan and Mandya Lok Sabha constituency. Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil Kumaraswamy is contesting from Mandya while HD Revanna’s son Prajwal Revanna is contesting against BJP candidate A Manju from Hassan.