I-T Raids Modi’s Real Surgical Strike: Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy
Marking the first time in the history of Karnataka that a chief minister stepped out to the streets in protest, CM HD Kumaraswamy accompanied by senior coalition leaders, gathered in front of the I-T office in Bengaluru on Thursday, 28 March.
Calling the sudden I-T raids ‘PM Modi’s real surgical strike’, the leaders gathered to protest the simultaneous raids ordered by the I-T department, which includes persons linked to the JD(S).
A massive search and seizure operation by the Income Tax (I-T) department is underway in over 20 locations in Bengaluru, Mandya, Mysuru and Hassan. Most of the persons who faced the raids are linked with the JD(S).
One of the prominent people facing the raid is the minor irrigation minister in JD(S)-Congress coalition government, CS Puttaraju. His residence in Chinakurali and Mandya, and multiple other locations linked to him, including houses of his relatives in Mysuru, are being raided.
The I-T department also raided the houses of three close associates of PWD minister and the chief minister's brother, HD Revanna, in Hassan.
Raid Advanced After CM’s Public Statement
The raids came hours after CM HD Kumaraswamy claimed the BJP was planning vindictive I-T raids against the JDS and the Congress ahead of the general elections.
“More than 300 I-T officials are on their way to Bengaluru, they may start raids tomorrow. It's vengeance politics by the central govt, we know it's happening because of elections, if they continue like this, we'll do what West Bengal CM did,” Kumaraswamy said on Wednesday.
According to sources in the I-T department, this revelation by the chief minister advanced the raids by a few hours. Instead of local police force, officials from the Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF) have been deployed for security.
The I-T department first raided Siddiqui Sait, a Jowar trader, who is said to be closely associated with the JD(S) leadership. Soon, raids began on three associates of PWD minister HD Revanna, the PWD office in Hassan and minister Puttaraju’s place.
Raids to Help Sumalatha: JD(S)
Talking to reporters, minister Puttaraju said the BJP raided him to help independent candidate and famous actor Ambareesh’s wife, Sumalatha.
"BJP leaders had shortlisted (coalition) leaders who should be raided by the I-T department. The IT-department chief in Karnataka is an agent of the BJP national president. The BJP has raided me to help independent candidate Sumalata Ambareesh," he said.
Sumalata Ambareesh, in reply, said: "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."
CM, Senior Leaders Protest Outside I-T Office
Chief minister Kumaraswamy along with several other senior Congress leaders including deputy CM G Parameshwara, KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao and DK Shivakumar gathered in front of the I-T office in protest of the ongoing raids.
Addressing the gathering Congress leader Siddaramaiah said that Congress and JD(S) together wanted to send a symbolic message to the PM through their protest.
Modi Scared of Defeat, BJP Misusing I-T Dept for Vengeance Politics: Siddaramaiah
“BJP has been misusing IT Dept repeatedly for vengeance politics. This is against democracy and Constitution. We have ACB under us. We can also raid any state or central officials using them but we don’t misuse our power. Opposition leaders too should be respected. PM Modi doesn’t believe in democracy. There are allegations against several people in his party. Why do you always raid only during elections? And why only on JD(S) and Congress leaders? Modi is scared of defeat this time. He wants to get IT raids all through the country so he can scare our workers and leaders into not campaigning.”Siddaramaiah at the protest