Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and BJP state unit president BS Yeddyurappa were locked in a war of words on Wednesday after Mr Kumaraswamy alleged attempts were being made to destabilise his government using central agencies, including the Income Tax department.
Mr Kumaraswamy, who heads the JDS-Congress coalition, stuck to his charge made in a media interview, that Mr Yeddyurappa and his sons were trying to rock his government through central agencies.
"I gave the statement responsibly after learning about it. I am fully aware of what's happening," he told reporters in Bengaluru.
He had said in the interview that Mr Yeddyurappa's sons had met a top official of the Income Tax department.
Mr Yeddyurappa hit back at Mr Kumaraswamy, saying he should produce evidence and act responsibly.
He also said his family members were only trying to get rid of some cases against them in the courts.
"Kumaraswamy is the chief minister of Karnataka. He should give statements responsibly. How are we linked with I-T or Enforcement Directorate? Let him produce the evidence to back his allegation," the BJP leader said.
Meanwhile, the Income Tax department in a statement said no such meeting took place between its Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax and Director General of Income Tax (Investigation) of Karnataka-Goa region and Mr Yeddyurappa's son, as reported.
Without naming anyone, the statement said, "We wish to place on record that no such meeting either with the family members of any political leader or with the political leaders themselves has taken place with the principal chief commissioner of Income Tax and director general of Income Tax (investigation), Karnataka Goa."
The department also clarified that it did not carry out investigations and searches with any political motives. Such investigations had been done without regard to the political affiliations of the searched persons, it added.
Mr Yeddyurappa's son BY Vijayendra also rejected Mr Kumaraswamy's charge, saying there was no truth in it.
"He (Kumaraswamy) is running the government. He has intelligence wing also in his control. More than us, it is he who knows where Yeddyurappa and his children go. He should refrain from giving such childish statement," Mr Vijayendra told reporters.
The chief minister sought to know which case of Mr Yeddyurappa was pending in the income tax department.
"If Yeddyurappa says that some cases were pending in the court, it actually proves that he had met the income tax commissioner too," Mr Kumaraswamy said.