Rs 2 crore in Cash Seized in I-T Raids in Karnataka, Say Officers
Most of the raids were conducted across Hassan and Mandya, considered strongholds of HD Deve Gowda's family. Deve Gowda’s grandsons, Prajwal Revanna and Nikhil Kumaraswamy, are contesting the Lok Sabha elections from these two districts.
Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy claimed that the raids were "politically motivated".
Bengaluru: Officials of the Income Tax Department recovered around Rs 2 crore in cash and jewellery weighing over 1.5 kg during the raids in Karnataka on Thursday.
Authorities launched a coordinated search-and-seizure operation early in the day and raided 24 premises. Sources in the I-T department said properties of 13 contractors and four engineers were raided in different places, including Channarayapatna, Arkalgud, Hassan, Mandya, Bengaluru, Shimoga and Chikmagalur.
However, the ruling Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition cried foul and said the “revenge raids” were politically motivated to disrupt their campaigns ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Both parties accused the BJP-led central government of misusing national agencies to carry out such raids on people affiliated to leaders of Opposition parties.
Such raids happen just before elections and target only Opposition parties, alleged the alliance despite the department’s repeated statements that no political functionary was raided.
But JD(S) leaders claimed that authorities searched the homes of many persons close to former Mandya MP CS Puttaraju, who is a minister in the coalition government and a loyalist of the HD Deve Gowda family. Puttaraju confirmed that homes of several relatives and members of the local zilla parishad were raided.
Most of the raids were conducted across Hassan and Mandya, which are considered Gowda strongholds. Deve Gowda’s grandsons Prajwal Revanna and Nikhil Kumaraswamy are contesting the Lok Sabha elections from these two districts.
“If the BJP thinks it will be able to tie our hands through these raids, it is an illusion. Nikhil will not lose, they cannot touch him at all,” Puttaraju told newspersons.
Sources in the department said the raids were conducted based on intelligence inputs about the movement of cash. The department claims there is a modus operandi through which tenders are finalised for construction or infrastructure projects in favour of certain trusted contractors.
"They are told to submit bills at the last moment and amounts are transferred immediately. Such contractors either directly withdraw the money and send it to their political masters through their personal assistants or they transfer the amount to the accounts of their close aides,” said an official.
The official alleged the cash was transferred with police protection. After being hoarded at safe places, it is distributed to lower-level party functionaries to help during campaigns, he claimed. There have been instances of engineers coordinating with politicians to award tenders to the right loyalists as well as contractors submitting forged bills, he said.
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