A day after recovering Rs 10 crore cash during raids at as many as 64 properties linked to Karnataka Power Minister DK Shivakumar, the Income Tax Department on Thursday continued the searches, starting with the residence of the minister’s father-in-law. The searches are in connection with an alleged tax evasion case involving Shivakumar, a senior Congress leader and the state Energy minister.
According to IT officials, raids were also conducted at the residences of Shivakumar at four locations in Delhi, including Safdarjung Enclave and R.K. Puram.
A political storm had erupted yesterday after the IT sleuths conducted raids and searches on properties linked to Shivakumar, who was overseeing the stay of 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat at a resort near Bengaluru.
The searches had its echo in Parliament where protesting Congress members disrupted the proceedings and questioned its timing even as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley insisted that the action had no connection with the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat.
Jaitley, however, said that the minister, who had "gone and parked himself" at the resort, was picked up from there for questioning.
As the Congress members charged the government with using investigating agencies like CBI, ED and IT, Jaitley said "whether it is a use or abuse, it depends of recovery".
Responding to Congress’ allegations that BJP-led Centre was misusing power to ‘intimidate’ its ‘opponents’ ahead of the crucial Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat, Jaitley said, “In that resort where your MLAs are staying, no search has taken place, no MLA has been searched. A particular individual was to be searched. He has gone and parked himself in that resort”.
Meanwhile, the I-T department said that the timing of the search was decided well in advance.
The I-T department issued a release saying that the raids on the official residence of Karnataka Power Minister DK Shivakumar and at Eagleton resort were only related to the minister.
“The search team has no concern with the MLAs and there has been no contact with MLAs and the search team. It is again reiterated that the Income Tax search is only on one Karnataka Minister,” the release read.
About half-a-dozen note-counting machines were used at two locations in Safdarjung Enclave in Delhi and in Hasan and Mysuru in Karnataka to count the cash.
While about Rs 7.9 crore cash has been recovered from Delhi, about Rs 2.23 crore has been found at locations in the southern state, the official said.
The official said the department is investigating Shivakumar in a case of alleged tax evasion and huge undisclosed investments in real estate and other sectors.
Certain investments linked to him in Singapore and few other foreign locations are also under the scanner of the department, the official said.
Some shell firms and their operatives allegedly linked to this case are also being probed, the official added.
The official said the I-T sleuths reached the Eagleton resort near Bengaluru to question the minister, who was staying there overnight after arriving late in the night to the Karnataka capital from Delhi.
The official said the department has prepared a 'panchnama' into the incident where the minister was allegedly found "tearing" pages of some loose paper sheets, when the taxmen came calling at the resort.
"The torn sheet, restored partially, is now being analysed," the official said.