Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy today defended the raids by Income Tax officials on top Kannada film stars and producers, saying that no political motive should be attributed to their action.
Mr Kumaraswamy said that the raids happen only when Income Tax officials catch wind of attempts at tax evasion. "Instead of saying that the raids are politically motivated, we should say they are just doing their duty. What choice do they have if the information is correct?" he told reporters in Hubballi.
When asked if there was any political motive to the raids, the Chief Minister said everybody has to function within the country's legal framework. "Whenever there is information about violations, legal procedure is followed," he asserted, adding that this applies to all government agencies.
By contrast, the Congress -- the Janata Dal(Secular)'s ruling alliance partner in Karnataka -- often accuses the Narendra Modi government of unleashing central agencies such as the Income Tax department, Enforcement Directorate and the CBI on political detractors. Particularly glaring was the Income Tax raids on state party leader DK Shivakumar in August 2017 while he was accommodating 44 legislators from Gujarat at a Karnataka guesthouse to prevent them from being poached ahead of a crucial Rajya Sabha election.
Meanwhile, the raids on film actors Shiva Rajkumar, Puneeth Rajkumar, Sudeep and Yash and film producers CR Manohar, ''Rockline'' Venkatesh and Vijay Kirigandur continued for the third consecutive day.
Multiple locations were searched by 200 Income Tax officials on Thursday, the first day of the raids, with officials allegedly unearthing a huge cache of cash and gold ornaments.
When questioned, actor Sudeep said he believed the probe had something to do with the budget of three recent Kannada films. "I will help with formalities. It has nothing to do with me personally, they are just asking about the films. I would be worried if I had done something wrong."
(With inputs from PTI)
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