Bengaluru: Even as the Income Tax raids on Karnataka ministers are being doubted to be politically-motivated, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has alleged that Congress Minister D K Shivakumar was openly asked by the I-T department officials, who raided him two months ago, to join the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The startling claim was made during the party’s ‘Black Day’ protests against demonetisation drive, with Siddaramaiah going ballistic against the Centre for misusing its investigating agencies to put pressure on parties that don’t toe the line.
“This BJP government is a ‘raid’ government and the I-T officials who were part of the raid team directly asked Shivakumar to crossover to BJP’s side,” Siddaramaiah said.
The Director General of Income Tax (Investigation), Karnataka and Goa, refuted the allegations and said the statement made by the Karnataka CM was factually baseless. “No Income Tax officer or official has at any point of time made any such statement to the minister or to anyone else,” the I-T department said in a press release.
“The Income Tax department is a professional and politically neutral department. The searches carried out have, without exception, resulted in admission and detection of previously undisclosed income running into hundreds of crores of rupees and seizure of large amounts of cash and jewellery,” it added.
Shivakumar was raided by the Income Tax Department in August, at a time when he was hosting Congress’ MLAs from Gujarat at his Bengaluru resort, in order to keep them away from horse-trading attempts ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls.
He and his family members continue to be summoned for interrogation every now and then by the I-T department.
Continuing with his tirade, the chief minister said that the BJP’s attempts to lure DK Shivakumar would prove to be futile. “He will not fall for it as he is a ‘born-Congressi’ (a hardcore loyalist),” the CM said on Wednesday.
Siddaramaiah’s statements come close on the heels of I-T officials raiding over 180 locations in connection with AIADMK leaders TTV Dinakaran and Sasikala in Tamil Nadu and other states, which Dinakaran has termed as “political vendetta”.