The Congress on Monday accused the BJP of playing an “insidious game of intimidation” through its “puppet CBI” after the agency conducted raids against its Karnataka unit chief D K Shivakumar. The opposition party questioned the timing of the raids, as by-election to two assembly seats in Karnataka is to be held on November 3, and termed it as “witch-hunt” by the BJP against its political rivals.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the “raid raj” will not deter it from unearthing “corruption and maladministration” by the BJP governments. “The insidious game of intimidation and machinations of Modi-Yeddyurappa duo being executed by a puppet CBI by raiding DK Shivakumar won’t deter us.
“CBI should be unearthing the layers of corruption in the Yeddyurappa Government. But, ‘Raid Raj’ is their only ‘Machiavellian Move’!,” he said on Twitter. Searches were held by the CBI at 14 locations linked to Shivakumar in Delhi, Karnataka and Maharashtra in connection with allegations of acquisition of disproportionate assets.
State Congress leaders have hit out at the BJP governments at the Centre and in Karnataka for the CBI action, linking it to November 3 by-election to Sira and R R Nagar Assembly segments. Party workers protested against the CBI in front of Shivakumar’s residence and various places, calling the agency as an “agent of the BJP.” “Let Modi and Yeddyurappa Governments and BJP’s frontal organisations i.e CBI-ED-Income Tax know that Congress workers and leaders will not be cowed down nor bow down before such devious attempts,” Surjewala also said.
Congress spokesperson Sushmita Dev alleged that the BJP repeatedly uses the central agencies to target opposition leaders and questioned why no action has been taken against the family member of the chief minister over allegations of corruption. “Why is it that before every election, the moment an election or a by-election is ordered the CBI suddenly wakes up and starts these raids,” she asked.
The BJP described as “ridiculous and meaningless” the protests by the Congress workers. The Karnataka BJP spokesperson, Captain Ganesh Karnik, said CBI, ED and IT department are institutions with functional autonomy to investigate and bring to justice financial and criminal fraudsters.
“They are always on their job. The present raid is in continuation of investigations started by ED in 2017,” he said. Speaking in the same vein, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan rejected the charge that the CBI action was “politically motivated”, and asserted it has nothing to do with the November 3 by-election.
Dev questioned the BJP over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Na khaunga, na khane dunga” slogan, saying “what justification can it give to the nation about not investigating Chief Minister Yediyurappa’s family members”. “We want to ask the Central Bureau of Investigation that why is it that you always wake up before an election, are you not acting as a stooge of this government,” she asked.
The Congress leader alleged that the BJP is repeatedly using agencies to divert the attention of the nation. “We condemn this witch-hunt and the Congress Party stands by Shri D.K. Shivakumar who is nothing but a victim of an election that is due to happen in Karnataka,” she said.
The CBI has registered a fresh case against Shivakumar based on a source information from another agency. The information relates to assets amassed during Shivakumar’s tenure as a minister in Karnataka, officials said. Shivakumar was arrested on September 23 last year by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case and was lodged in the Tihar jail under judicial custody.
The Congress leader was released from the jail on October 23 after the Delhi High Court granted him bail.