Tax raids on Karnataka Minister, relatives end

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Bengaluru, Aug 5 (IANS) The Income Tax Department has almost concluded its searches at the houses/premises of Karnataka Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar, his relatives and friends across the state as well as in Delhi, a senior official said on Saturday.

“Our search and seizure operations against the Minister, his relatives and friends have almost ended, pending formalities, as collection and documentation of seized material takes time,” a senior I-T Department official told IANS here.

Admitting that the operation was a marathon exercise in terms of time (80 hours), locations (67) and officials involved (300), the officer said the Department’s Investigation Wing would decide when to go public with the details.

“The Investigation Wing Director General alone can decide when and what information can be given to the public after the search teams submit their reports (panchanamas) along with seizures. These things take time,” said the official of the IT Department’s Karnataka and Goa region.

Raids began at the Minister’s residence in the city, at Kanakapura, and South Delhi at 7 a.m. on August 2 and continued till Saturday noon, with the Central Reserve Police Force providing security to the raiding teams.

Simultaneously, searches were conducted at the premises of the Minister’s brother D.K. Suresh at Ramanagara in Bengaluru Rural district, Shivakumar’s father-in-law Thimmaiah at Mysuru, brother-in-law’s house and even his astrologer Dwarakanath Guruji in Bengaluru.

Raids were also conducted on the business associates of the Minister in Bengaluru and Hassan in the state.

The teams early Wednesday raided the deluxe suite of the Minister at the Eagleton Resort at Bidadi, about 40km from here, where he was staying to host 44 Congress lawmakers from Gujarat.

The legislators flew into Bengaluru on July 29 from Ahmedabad to avoid poaching attempts by the rival Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the August 8 Rajya Sabha polls in the western state.

The I-T Department said in a statement on August 2 that the raids were not connected to the Gujarat legislators’ stay at the resort and that the timing was coincidental.

After the sleuths left his residence, a relieved Shivakumar told reporters that he never worked against the spirit of the law and had nothing to hide.

“I would like to thank all my leaders across the country who stood by me in the hour of crisis. I will not embarrass my party or will let down my leaders,” said the Minister.

Thanking the media, Shivakumar said he would not talk about the raids or seizures till he got the ‘panchanama’ from the I-T Department.

Later, Shivakumar visited a city temple with his family and also went to meet the Gujarat MLAs at the resort.

In a related development, the Gujarat lawmakers met Karnataka Governor Vajubhai R. Vala at the Raj Bhavan at the city centre.

“They all came in a bus to meet Vala, who hails from Gujarat and was a senior Minister in the BJP government and assembly Speaker,” a party spokesman said.

–IANS

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