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D K Shivakumar's premises face I-T raids, searches still on

DH News Service, Bengaluru, Aug 3 2017, 2:34 IST
Energy Minister D K Shivakumar appears on the balcony of his residence in Sadashivanagar during I-T raids on Wednesday. DH Photo

Energy Minister D K Shivakumar appears on the balcony of his residence in Sadashivanagar during I-T raids on Wednesday. DH Photo

Income Tax (I-T) department sleuths on Wednesday raided as many as 60 locations linked to Energy minister D K Shivakumar across the state, in New Delhi and Chennai, and conducted searches and seizures which reportedly yielded Rs 9 crore cash.

Sources said the cash was recovered from different locations. The I-T department, however, remained tightlipped on the recovery as the searches, estimation and mahazar continued into Wednesday night. Shivakumar was being questioned at his Sadashivanagar residence here, the sources added.

Charges of use of money power through transfer of huge sums of illegal funds for various elections triggered the raids, said I-T department sources.

The sleuths swooped down on Shivakumar, billed as one of the richest ministers in the country with assets worth Rs 251 crore, while he was camping at Eagleton Golf Resort outside Bengaluru, hosting 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat. The MLAs were being boarded and guarded at the resort by the Congress

It is being done to prevent alleged poaching by the BJP to impede the re-election of Ahmed Patel, Congress leader and close aide of party president Sonia Gandhi, in the Rajya Sabha election on August 8.

Besides the minister’s house in New Delhi, a band of about 120 officials, conducted searches at the residences and offices of Shivakumar, his relatives and close associates, including his family astrologer, in Sadashivanagar, Seshadripuram and R T Nagar in Bengaluru, Kanakapura, Sathanur, Mandya, Hassan and Mysuru across the state. Searches were also conducted at several business houses and realty firms linked to Shivakumar.

Shivakumar was not at his Sadashivanagar residence when the sleuths knocked on his door around 6.30 am. They had an easy entry into the house and recovered documents related to moveable and immoveable properties. When they learnt that Shivakumar was at the resort with the MLAs, the I-T sleuths went there to fetch him and bring him to his residence for questioning. The minister, who was in Delhi for a meeting on renewable energy organised by Niti Aayog, had returned to Bengaluru on Tuesday night.

“The search under Section 132 of the Income Tax Act is an evidence gathering exercise which is being carried out in compliance with all statutory requirements. The search is the continuation of an investigation which has been in progress for a considerable period of time,” a statement by Director-General of I-T (Investigation) said.

The timing of the search was decided well in advance. The events involving certain MLAs of another state being brought to Karnataka were unforeseen and unpredictable events, the statement added.

On seeing the I-T sleuths at the resort, Shivakumar reportedly tore up some papers. The sleuths collected the bits to piece them together to ascertain their content. They took away incriminating documents and unaccounted cash in three suitcases for verification.

MLAs left alone?

The sleuths maintained that they did not search rooms where the MLAs were staying. Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil claimed that he had videographed the action of I-T sleuths searching the rooms where the MLAs were staying.

“We are now scared... not for our lives but for democracy,” Gohil told reporters. “ I appeal to the Supreme Court to take the matter into its hands,” he added.

The sleuths had taken the help of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) for security.

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