- Jayadev Galla is the managing director of Amara Raja Group
- He had declared wealth worth more than Rs 680 crore in the 2014 polls
- He had initiated a no-confidence motion against the government last year
The Income Tax department, continuing with its pre-election raids, late on Tuesday night searched the offices of Jayadev Galla, Telugu Desam Party lawmaker and candidate for Lok Sabha polls from Andhra Pradesh's Guntur.
Mr Galla is a multi-millionaire industrialist and the managing director of Amara Raja Group. When he contested his first election in 2014, he had declared wealth worth more than Rs 680 crore. In July last year, Mr Galla had set social media abuzz with his speech when he initiated the no-confidence motion in parliament against the government.
Following the raids this evening, Mr Galla staged a protest along with other TDP leaders in Guntur's Pattabhipuram.
"Why I am being targeted? Why is the TDP being targeted? Deliberate attempt by PM to influence polls. Moving towards state of Emergency and fascism," Mr Galla said.
The fresh raids come on a day the Election Commission met the Revenue Secretary, AB Pandey and the Chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes or CBDT, PC Mody to discuss the recent searches conducted at several places across the country.
The opposition has alleged the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government is using the tax department to harass and intimidate them before the elections, after a string of raids on people linked to opposition leaders - Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath - raised their suspicion.
Income Tax officials had raided the residences of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath's former private secretary Praveen Kakkar in Indore and former advisor Rajendra Kumar Miglani in Delhi in connection with an alleged hawala case on Sunday morning.
The raids came just a week after the Income Tax department targeted people linked to the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in Karnataka, a move that was termed by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and the Congress as misuse of the government's power to harass political opponents.
On Sunday, the Election Commission had instructed investigation and enforcement agencies under the Union Finance Ministry to ensure that their pre-poll raids remain politically neutral. The poll body also mandated that its officials be informed in advance before any such exercise is undertaken.
The tax department maintains the raids are not politically motivated.