PRAMESH S JAIN
IT Surgical Strike :Kumaraswamy leads Cong-JDS protest against IT department after raids across Karnataka.
In a pre-dawn swoop Thursday, Income Tax officials along with CRPF personnel carried out raids at the residences of Karnataka Minor Irrigation minister C S Puttaraju and his nephew. The raids were also carried out at the residences of PWD minister H D Revanna’s close associates Narayana Reddy, Ashwath Gowda and Raya Gowda in Hassan, sources said. Revanna’s son and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda’s grandson Prajjwal is contesting from the Hassan Lok Sabha seat.
The raids come days after the Caravan magazine published an article which suggested that BJP state president B.S.Yeddyurappa had made payouts of around Rs.1,800 crore to his national leaders during the formers term as CM from 2008 to 2011.The Congress had used this to target Yeddyurappa but Balakrishna confirmed to several media outlets that the diary used as the basis for the article was fake.This comes a day after Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said that he feared possible raids on Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) functionaries.
Karnataka Minor Irrigation Minister CS Puttaraju on Thursday claimed Income Tax officials and Central Reserve Police Force personnel carried out raids at his and his nephew’s homes early in the day.Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy Thursday led a protest by the Congress-JDS ruling alliance in front of the Income Tax department here in a furious response to a statewide pre-dawn IT crackdown on his partymen and others.
Raising slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and waving party flags, the Congress and JD(S) activists gathered within hours after the IT raids with the help of CRPF personnel at 15 to 20 places including Bengaluru, Mandya, Mysuru, Hassan and Shivamogga.
Meanwhile, the BJP’s Karnataka Twitter handle took a dig at the two parties by wondering if Nehru was ‘responsible’ for the IT raids.Playing on Congress ‘praising’ Nehru after DRDO carried out Mission Shakti, BJP Karnataka wrote: “Income Tax act came into existence in 1961. Jawahar lal Nehru was the prime minister then. Should the credit not go to Nehru for #ITRaid today ?”Congress and JDS activists who tried to storm the Income Tax office were arrested and later released as the protest on the ever busy Queens Road resulted in chock-a-block with hundreds of vehicles stuck in the traffic jam.
A elaborate security arrangements as security was hightightened in and around queen’s road and Income Tax department surroundings,Addl CP Traffic,P.Harishekaran with 3 DCPs as,Devaraj,Rahul kumar Sharpode,Jagadeesh Kumar,with ACPs as,Manjunath,Niranjan Raje Urs,Mallik,Murali,Prathap Reddy,With PIs,PSIs,ASIs,and other crime staff of East and Central Division with atleast 5 platoons of KSRP and CAR were deployed for no untoward incident to take place the traffic was closed near queen’s road as huge supporters gathered near Queens road opposite to Income Tax office the whole area of income tax department was cordoned and the force was deployed as the protest erupted against central government all the officers and staff were asked to take their position and be alert as they dint leave any of the workers to enter the income tax department office premises .The ruling alliance was particularly angry as they alleged that the IT raids were carried out on JD(S) leaders overseeing the elections of Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil Kumaraswamy in Mandya and nephew Prajwal Revanna in Hassan.
Taking on the Modi government in the first such protest by the State chief minister against a central department in recent memory, Kumaraswamy lashed out at it for “misusing” the IT department and other central agencies.Terming the Centre’s behaviour as an assault on the federal system, he alleged that Modi has been misusing the constitutional bodies, which shows his “dictatorial streak. “We are not opposed to raids. We are opposing it because it is restricted to a few political parties in the opposition.They want to threaten them,a visibly angry Kumaraswamy said.Kumaraswamy questioned BJP state chief B S Yeddyurappa as to whether he could win elections without money.He also said for the first time the I-T officials raided government offices too, such as PWD office in Hassan and Tahsildar office in Kanakapura.The IT Department has to work independently but it’s working on the instructions of Modi and Amit Shah. After BJP came to power, it has become like a dictatorship. Do you think the IT Director in Bengaluru is innocent?
I also have a lot of records,the CM said, adding that the director had several apartments in Mumbai.He claimed that the I-T department director had an internal understanding with the BJP and was promised a Governor post after his retirement, which is due in three months.A furious Kumaraswamy has blamed PM Modi for the raids. In a tweet he has levelled serious charges against Karnataka-Goa IT commissioner Balakrishnan, saying that he is harassing BJP’s political opponents for a post retirement Constitutional post.Terming the raids as PM Modi’s real surgical strike, the CM had warned he would use tactics like Mamata Banerjee against any move by the centre to use the government’s organs for political vendetta.He even asked the central government that you don’t have faith on our state police why they were not informed why there help has not been taken and we also have our state ACB to ride on you all Even we can utilize it but we will not do as we don’t want to misuse the powers as the BJP is doing. He even told that I know why this raids has happened who is behind this raids so finally he said I warn the central government to stop their tactics and said why in the time of elections the IT department conducted why not before he added.Last month, the Bengal chief minister had staged a sit-in after a CBI team arrived at former Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar’s residence to question him in chit fund scam cases.
The Income Tax department, however, issued a statement denying the claim, reports said.No MP, MLA or minister has so far been covered in the searches.We also request that the activities of the income tax department should not be politicised,personalised or trivialised.In particular,statements which sound like an incitement to physical violence issued by persons holding very responsible posts are deeply deplorable.The department, however, said searches were being conducted on people from a wide range of professions and businesses.All these searches have resulted in collecting credible evidence on tax evasion, the statement said.The searches on politically exposed persons have covered the entire range of political spectrum.
Several teams of the I-T department raided at least 27 premises, the official cited above said.
Both the BJP and Congress and other political outfits have cried victim when their premises were raided in the past.
Earlier in the day, Puttaraju had said, “Three teams of I-T officials and CRPF soldiers comprising eight soldiers carried out raids at my Chinnakurli residence in Mandya and my nephew’s residence in Mysuru.Searches are also reportedly going on in the homes of associates of Public Works Department Minister HD Revanna, who is the brother of Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and the son of former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda.
On Thursday,Kumaraswamy and other government leaders staged a protest outside the department’s office in Bengaluru.The Income Tax department has to work independently but it is working on the instructions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah.After the BJP came to power,it has become like a dictatorship.Do you think the Income Tax director in Bengaluru is innocent? I also have lot of records.
The alleged searches came a day after Kumaraswamy said that he feared possible raids on Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) functionaries.The chief minister said CRPF personnel were brought to carry out the search operations.On Wednesday, Kumaraswamy had said,This is nothing but revenge politics.We will not be cowed down by this.
Puttaraju,however,said the raids have instilled confidence in him.I’m not deterred by the raids,which are election related,he said.I would like to know which BJP leader’s house in Karnataka has been raided.Puttaraju.
PM Narendra Modi’s real surgical strike is out in the open through IT dept raids,Kumaraswamy said in a tweet on Thursday, hours after the alleged searches began.The constitutional post offer for IT officer Balakrishna helped the PM in his revenge game.Highly deplorable to use govt machinery, corrupt officials to harass opponents during election time.
Kumaraswamy said they were contemplating protest against the misuse of central forces.Puttaraju said a meeting will be held soon where the mode of protest will be decided.
Former CM Siddaramaiah warned officials of consequences if they operate as puppets and not operate within the ambit of the law.As it have already told, the fight is between Democracy and Autocracy. C.S.Puttaraju another JD(S) leader and minister for minor irrigation said that his home in Mandya was raided.IT raids on opposition leaders is nothing but an attempt to intimidate and demoralise supporters during election time.@BJP4India is the most coward party in the whole world. Shame on them he wrote on Twitter earlier.
Yeddyurappa rubbishes charges.
At Hassan, Revanna said,So long as I have the blessings of Sringeri Sharadamba and Shankaracharya, nothing will happen…Anybody conspiring against me or trying black magic will be destroyed. I am so well protected.Yeddyurappa rubbished the charges, saying the Income Tax department was doing its duty and it should not be linked with politics.
He wondered why the Congress and the JD(S) were giving it a political colour when it was against some bureaucrats, contractors and others and not the MPs, MLAs and ministers.
Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of misusing his office, former Prime Minister and JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda on Thursday strongly condemned the search and seizure operation by the Income Tax authorities on people linked to his party in Karnataka just ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.Describing the raid by tax authorities as Vendetta politics being practised by the BJP-led NDA government, Mr. Gowda said the raids were aimed at destroying JD(S), which refused to join hands with BJP while forming the government after the Assembly polls.Citing the attempts made by BJP national president Amit Shah to influence Mr.Kumaraswamy to join hands with the party instead of Congress,Mr. Gowda said,Throughout my life, I am committed to certain political principles and ideology that underlines the secular character of the nation. This has angered both Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah and they want to eliminate JD(S) from the political map. I-T raids at the time of Karnataka facing Lok Sabha polls is one such heinous attempts.No prime minister in Independent India had stooped to this level and I am pained by the way Mr Modi is making use of institutions to silence the Opposition.” He said that there was no question of bowing down to such pressure tactics.Criticising the alleged role being played by B.R. Balakrishna.Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax and Director General Investigations, Karnataka and Goa, Mr.Gowda said that Mr. Balakrishna, who is retiring in June, is trying to please the Union Government to get two year extension promised to him by the Ministry of Finance.He gives a clean chit to BJP state leader B S Yeddyurappa in the case pertaining to a diary recovered during raids. He vouched that the signature of Mr. Yeddyurappa is fake,said Mr. Gowda.
Kumaraswamy’s elder brother and PWD minister H D Revanna has launched a blistering attack on I-T department and the Prime Minister.Condemning the IT raids, he said, Who is Modi? Deve Gowda is not scared of him.Our people will show them their right place. We will follow Mamata Banerjee’s model if the BJP does not IT raids.He even described IT chief commissioner Balakrishnan as a stooge of BJP. The same officer gives a clean chit to BS Yeddyurappa in 24 hours. He is harassing us. Let him go to Yeddyurappa’s house as a bonded labourer. He is a disgrace to the post he added.
Ms. Sumalata Ambareesh retorted, saying she was at a loss to understand how she could be linked to the raids.The I-T Department would have worked for several months before conducting a raid. Probably they raid places where they have information where money is being distributed,she said.
Home Minister condemns raids
Home Minister M.B. Patil condemned termed the I-T raids misuse of power by the BJP”. The BJP had been using the I-T Department to target political rivals in the State for sometime now, even during Assembly elections, he said.We will not be suppressed by such raids. We will fight back,he added.
Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara said similar operations, targeting Congress leaders, were conducted ahead of the Assembly polls. “It is politically motivated. Why aren’t there raids on BJP leaders? People can see the motives behind such actions and we wont be cowed down,” he said.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee(KPCC) president, Dinesh Gundu Rao tweeted,It’s now clearly established that the IT Dept is now a political wing of the BJP. Congress & JD(S) leaders/supporters are and will be wilfully targeted. Abuse of power & position for political gain is the norm for #ModiShahGoondaRaj.”
I-T officials have started searches at properties belonging to JD(S) leader Krishne Gowda, who owns a granite unit. Raids are also being conducted at the official residence of C.S. Manju, an executive engineer at the PWD in Hassan.
The premises of two automobile showrooms in Shivamogga city, owned by D.T. Parameshwar, said to be a relative of Mr. Deve Gowda, is also being searched.