A team comprising of Election Commission’s flying squad, along with income tax and enforcement directorate sleuths, on Tuesday, carried out search operations in two hotels in Hubballi where Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, State minister DK Shivakumar and several other officers were staying.
These leaders were campaigning in Hubballi as two assembly constituencies in Hubballi Karnataka, Chincholi and Kundgol where bypolls will be held on May 19. The officers reportedly seized gold utensils and other materials from the hotel rooms, allegedly meant for bribing voters.
According to reports, the raids were meant to curb election-related malpractices. The sources confirmed that the team seized gold utensils, party caps and photographs of former MLA of Kundgol C S Shivalli, from a room where congress worker Shivakumar Chandrashekhar Gokavi was staying. A subsequent police complaint has been lodged against Gokavi about the violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
Moreover, as precautionary measures against the use of money power in the Lok Sabha elections, the Income Tax department had earlier too 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. It was reported that the raids are being carried out on contractors related to JD(S) leaders over allegations of laundering money.
Prior to this, the IT officials had also carried out similar raids on the close aides of HD Revanna in Hassan and CS Puttaraju in Mandya.
Meanwhile, By poll in Kundgol seat is being carried out after it fell vacant following the death of sitting MLA C S Shivalli a few months ago. Shivalli’s widow Kusumavathi is contesting the election from this seat. Meanwhile, Chincholi is going for bypolls as the sitting Congress MLA Dr Umesh Jadhav resigned from the assembly to join BJP and contest the Lok Sabha election from Gulbarga on BJP ticket against Congress stalwart Mallikarjun Kharge.
Results of these two constituencies will be declared simultaneously with the Lok Sabha election results on May 23.