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I-T Raids Part of Centre's Political Vendetta Ahead of Elections, Alleges TDP

Earlier in the day, I-T sleuths barged into TDP MP CM Ramesh’s residence in Hyderabad and Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh. The MP’s family-owned flagship business Rithwik Projects Pvt Ltd and its subsidiaries have also been raided by the authorities.

Rishika Sadam | CNN-News18

Updated:October 12, 2018, 11:04 PM IST
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I-T Raids Part of Centre's Political Vendetta Ahead of Elections, Alleges TDP
TDP MP CM Ramesh, whose residence was raided by I-T officials on Friday.
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Hyderabad: With the third Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader under the I-T scanner, the party alleged that raids at businessman-politician TDP MP CM Ramesh’s properties were “politically motivated” and “part of a plan hatched by the Centre to target party leaders in Andhra Pradesh”.

Terming the raids political vendetta ahead of elections, the party questioned why I-T officials did not crack the whip on other business tycoons such as Jay Shah, the son of BJP president Amit Shah.

On Friday, I-T sleuths barged into Ramesh’s residence in Hyderabad and Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh. The MP’s family-owned flagship business Rithwik Projects Pvt Ltd and its subsidiaries have also been raided by the authorities.
About 60 I-T officials were part of the raids in Kadapa, sources told News18.

Speaking to News18, TDP MP K Ravindra Kumar asked, “If the raids are about evasion of tax and financial irregularities, then why weren’t the properties of Amit Shah’s son raided? We have all seen reports of how the company’s turnover shot up to thousands of crores of rupees after BJP came to power. Why no action there?”

The move comes a week after Nellore-based businessman and TDP politician Beeda Masthan Rao’s properties were raided by I-T officials. Three days ago, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had searched former Union Minister and TDP MP Sujana Chowdary’s offices in Hyderabad.

All the three TDP leaders, whose properties were searched, are confidants of Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, sources said.

The TDP has alleged that its leaders are being attacked by the Centre after the party called it quits with the NDA government in March over the demand for ‘special category’ status. Ramesh has been at the forefront of the fight for the demand.

In fact, Ramesh went on an indefinite hunger strike for 11 days in July, demanding that the Centre set up an integrated steel plant in Kadapa district as per the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.

“Anyone who speaks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi or whoever opposes the government’s policies is being attacked. They are simply taking revenge.” Ramesh told News18.

The chief minister had previously alleged that the BJP might be plotting a “conspiracy” with the help of local opposition parties such as YSRCP to weaken the state.

Sources in the party said the raids were part of ‘Operation Garuda’, a plan allegedly hatched by the ruling party at the Centre to target Andhra Pradesh.

“In what way will YSRCP be involved? They (TDP) are just trying to gain sympathy. If you look at CM Ramesh’s constituency- most of the projects there are handled by his company Rithwik Projects. Even a common man knows that.
Just because he is a politician, it does not mean that he would be insulated from law,” B Rajendranath Reddy, member of legislative assembly from YSRCP, told News18.

“The company was in a dire conditions in 2014 and when you look at it in 2018 — it has some thousands of crores? What does this mean? If you can get projects using your virtue then be prepared to get checked also,” added Reddy.

The raids come on the heels of the notice sent by Ramesh, who is also a member of Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, to the I-T officials to furnish details about recent raids in Andhra Pradesh.

The I-T raids which have been underway since early morning concluded late in the evening on Friday, sources told News18.
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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