Can't quit because of I-T raid: Ramesh Jarkiholi

If ministers start resigning on the basis of income tax raids, then the entire Cabinet will have to quit, Small Scale Industries Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi has said.

Ramesh, who belongs to the powerful Jarkiholi family, made the remark while speaking to journalists after participating in the Republic Day celebrations in Belagavi on Thursday.

On January 19, income tax officials started searches on the houses of Ramesh, his brother Lakhan, their associates in Chikkodi taluk.  Ramesh declined to remark that the raids were “politically motivated”, saying his lawyer had asked him not to make any comment on the matter for the next fortnight. He claimed that neither Chief Minister Siddaramaiah nor Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president G Parameshwara had asked him to resign.

Meanwhile, KPCC women’s wing president Lakshmi Hebbalkar, whose house in Belagavi was also searched by income tax officials, said she was ready to resign if the charges of corruption against her were proved.

Speaking to journalists after the Republic Day programme at KPCC office in Bengaluru, she dismissed as “baseless” BJP leader B S Yeddyyurappa’s accusation that she had amassed illegal wealth. She also denied she had huge benami investments in solar power plants. She said she had given the accounts of all her properties to the Income Tax Department.

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