- Nearly 100 tax officials raiding homes, offices of CM Ramesh
- He has been leading protest for special status to Andhra Pradesh
- CM Ramesh is a lawmaker from N Chandrababu Naidu's party
The homes and offices of a parliamentarian from Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu's TDP were raided by Income Tax officials this morning. Nearly 100 taxmen searched the homes and offices of Rajya Sabha MP CM Ramesh in Hyderabad and Kadapa.
Multiple locations including the office of a company owned by Mr Ramesh's relative and his home in Hyderabad's Jubilee Hills were raided. The firm, Rithwik Industries, is said to have a turnover of close to Rs. 1,000 crore.
"Searches are being conducted at the residences of Mr Ramesh in Kadapa district in Andhra Pradesh. I-T officials are also verifying records at his residence and office in Hyderabad also. It is a routine one. No significance is attached to this," the sources in the I-T department told news agency Press Trust of India.
CM Ramesh, however, termed the raids "political vendetta". "It is a clear-cut case of political vendetta...In fact, the Prime Minister himself warned us right inside parliament about consequences since we have been fighting for the state's rights. The IT raids are a result of the warning," said Mr Ramesh who is in Delhi.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) also condemned the raids. "This is an attack on the Andhra people. The Modi government has been adopting a vengeful attitude as we have been demanding that all promises made for AP be fulfilled," the state's Information Technology Minister N Lokesh said in a tweet.
Ten days ago, Income Tax officials had raided several places in Andhra Pradesh.
CM Ramesh, a Rajya Sabha lawmaker who was elected to the powerful Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of parliament in August said he had declared an income of Rs. 200 crore in the last four years and promptly paid tax. "I will not be cowed down by such attacks," he said.
The TDP broke away from the the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) earlier this year over the centre's refusal to grant special status to Andhra Pradesh. Mr Ramesh was among the lawmakers from the party who protested in parliament, escalating their demand for special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)