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Uproar in Parliament as Congress cries foul over Bengaluru raids, I-T says raids were pre-planned

Responding to Opposition’s allegations, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “No search has taken place in the resort as such and no MLA was searched, only one particular Karnataka minister was searched”
Edited by: India TV Politics Desk New Delhi August 02, 2017 12:08 IST
India TV Politics Desk

Accusing the government of misusing power ahead of the Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat, the Congress created a ruckus in Parliament, questioning the Income Tax raids at the Bengaluru resort where the party’s 44 MLAs have been housed to apparently ensure that they don’t shift loyalty to BJP ahead of the elections. 

“Conduct raids on the residences of those people from your party who are offering Rs 15 crore,” said Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, while reiterating Congress’ claim that BJP is using money power to lure its opponents.

Another Congress MP Anand Sharma questioned the timing of the raids by the I-T department. “It is now becoming a trend to blatantly misuse powers of the state. The (Karnataka) minister and his brother, an elected representative, are coordinating the stay of Gujarat MLAs. That is why it is a targeted timing,” he said. 

Responding to Opposition’s allegations, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “No search has taken place in the resort as such and no MLA was searched, only one particular Karnataka minister was searched”. 

Meanwhile, the I-T department issued a release saying that the raids on the official residence of Karnataka Power Minister DK Shivakumar and at Eagleton resort were only related to the minister.
 
“The search team has no concern with the MLAs and there has been no contact with MLAs and the search team. It is again reiterated that the Income Tax search is only on one Karnataka Minister,” the release read. 

While Congress alleged that the raids were a handiwork of the BJP-led central government to “influence” the Rajya Sabha elections, the I-T department has said that the search was decided well in advance. 

"The search is the continuation of an investigation which has been in progress for a considerable period of time. The timing of the search was decided well in advance. The events involving certain MLAs of another state being brought to Karnataka were unforeseen and unpredictable events," states the I-T department.

Earlier today, the tax authorities raided 39 locations related to Shivakumar who has been given the responsibility of looking after over 40 Gujarat Congress MLAs staying at the Eagleton Golf Resort. I-T officials also visited the Eagleton Golf Resort where the minister was staying with Gujarat Congress MLAs.

IT officials have claimed that Rs five crore cash has been recovered from the Delhi residence of Karnataka minister D K Shivakumar, PTI reported.