Mumbai: In what seems to be a brazen attempt at vendetta politics and manipulative use of state agencies, the BJP Govt. at the centre ordered an income tax raid on the Karnataka Power minister D.K. Sivakumar and seized over Rs 11 crore cash, property documents, jewellery and other investments.
The income tax department has said that it is investigating Mr. Sivakumar in a routine case of tax evasion. The raids conducted however belie this, as they were massive and involved searches at approximately 64 locations. The raids have now spilled over to the 2nd consecutive day have created panic in the political fraternity.
The drama unfolded when veteran Gujarat politician and leader of the Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela resigned from Congress at the end of July this year. Following his resignation six Gujarat Congress MLAs quit the party and joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Their resignations come at a critical juncture and just ahead of the important Rajya Sabha polls to be held on August 8th.
Mr. Vaghela, however, has categorically stated that he will not be joining the BJP. The spate of resignations in the Congress party, indirectly spell trouble for Mr. Ahmed Patel who has filed his nomination for the fifth time for the Rajya Sabha seat. Patel is the political secretary of Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
The Congress leadership then decided to move 46 of its remaining MLAs from Gujarat to Bengaluru to prevent further “poaching” by the BJP. The MLAs are staying at Eagleton Golf Resort near Ramanagara, Karnataka under the hospitality of Karnataka Power Minister D.K. Sivakumar who has been now raided. The Congress however denied reports that it was a move to prevent horse trading and stated that the MLAs were in Bengaluru on a ‘religious visit’ to Tirupati and other places.
Mr Sivakumar, is an influential leader of the Vokkaliga community and also one of the wealthiest state ministers in the country. In a show of support towards Mr. Sivakumar, Karnataka Chief Minister Mr. Siddaramaiah has stood solidly behind him and condemned the BJP action of vendetta. Meanwhile Kumar’s family has claimed that the 48 hour IT search has yielded nothing so far and released the I-T department’s ‘panchanama’ as proof of the same.
However raids are still continuing under Section 132 of the Income Tax Act as an ‘evidence gathering exercise’ with contrary allegations of “witch-hunting” by the Congress, leaving ‘one’ waiting for the concluding act in this drama.