Bengaluru: Karnataka minister DK Shivakumar has been questioned for hours over the last three days by Income Tax officials at his palatial home in Sadashivanagar, a leafy and beautiful Bengaluru locality where the rich and powerful own houses. Tax officials have claimed that they have seized more than 11 crore rupees in raids on more than 60 locations linked to the minister.
- Karnataka Minister DK Shivakumar was questioned by Income Tax officials
- Tax officials raided more than 60 locations and seized around Rs 11 crore
- Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah said the raids were politically motivated
"He is under pressure. He didn't sleep for the last two days," said the minister's brother DK Suresh, member of Parliament from Bengaluru Rural. Mr Suresh said the taxmen have questioned the minister "till 1.30, 2 am," every day and that Mr Shivakumar has had to consult a doctor who has advised him rest.
"The officers are asking some questions so that is why he is under pressure. So doctor has come and suggested two days rest. For the last three days our family members are also under stress...Everyone is watching this episode in a big way," the minister's brother told NDTV.
The state's ruling party the Congress has accused the BJP government at the Centre of "misusing" Central agencies, questioning the timing of raids on Mr Shivakumar in a tax evasion case. The minister, a powerful trouble-shooter for his party in the state, was tasked with managing 43 Congress MLAs from Gujarat sequestered at a Bengaluru resort to prevent defections ahead of a crucial Rajya Sabha elections.
But the party is yet to comment on the huge amount of cash that officials say has been recovered.
Karnataka's chief minister, Siddaramaiah said, "This is a politically motivated raid. The timing also shows that. I am not against any raid on any house or search on any house, but the time they have selected and the intention of the Central Government and the IT department..."
Tax officials accompanied by paramilitary personnel picked up Mr Shivakumar from the luxury resort off the Bengaluru-Mysuru Highway in what the Congress alleges was "scare tactics" to unnerve the Gujarat lawmakers who were brought out of their state after six of the party's legislators quit and three joined the BJP. The Congress has alleged that the BJP is attempting to poach its lawmakers to ensure that its senior leader Ahmed Patel is not re-elected to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat in elections next Tuesday.
The BJP has denied any link between the raids and the presence of the Gujarat MPs in Karnataka, with union Finance Minister saying they must only be seen as "action against a financial crime."
"Why is the Congress so scared? If DKS has nothing to hide, why should he worry?" asked the BJP's Karnataka spokesperson, S Prakash.