IT raids happened even during Congress regime: Karjol

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Govind M Karjol. DH Photo

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Govind M Karjol on Monday said no political motive should be attached to raids by enforcement agencies against some state Congress leaders in recent weeks.

Last week, income tax officials had raided multiple places linked to former Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and his associates. The state Congress leaders had alleged that their party members were being targeted.

"In 70 years of the country's independence, the Income Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate have raided many people. These constitutional bodies are working within the law. It is not good to attach political motive to such raids," Karjol told reporters here.

The income tax officials have raided not only Congress leaders but also the members of other political parties. It is not fair to blame the BJP or Prime Minister Narendra Modi for these raids, he said.

"IT raids had happened even during the Congress regime. Should we say they were done with a political motive?" he added.

Asked about Congress leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah's invitation to take back rebel Congress MLAs into the party fold, Karjol said: "I don't want to comment on internal matter of Congress. I will talk when that situation comes."

The absence and resignation of the 17 MLAs during the trust vote had led to the collapse of the Kumaraswamy-headed coalition government in July, helping the BJP to come to power.

The Deputy Chief Minister justified when asked about some Karnataka BJP leaders campaigning for state polls in neighbouring Maharasthra at a time floods have affected many parts of Karnataka.

"Few of them have gone for election campaign. They are doing their job, we are doing ours. Flood relief work is underway in Karnataka and I will be visiting the affected areas tomorrow," he added.

He also rubbished the Janata Dal (Secular)'s charge that the state government was taking bribe for release of flood relief. "I will challenge Kumaraswamy (JDS leader and former chief minister) if he proves this."

Kumaraswamy had alleged that the state BJP government was taking Rs 3,000 bribe to release Rs 10,000 flood relief to affected persons.

Karjol was in the national capital to attend the conference on 'One Nation, One FASTag'.

He said Karnataka government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoUs) with National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for integration of FASTag with GST e-way bill system on 32 state highway roads to be completed by April 1, 2020.

FASTag is simple to use, reloadable tag which enables automatic deduction of toll charges and lets vehicle pass through toll plaza without stopping for cash transaction.

The integration of e-way bill system with FASTag will help revenue authorities track the movement of vehicles and ensure that they are travelling to the same destination that the transporter or the trader had specified while generating the e-way bill.

Karjol said about Rs 12 crore is estimated requirement of funds for integration of each toll plaza with FASTag and the funds will be shared equally by both the state and Centre.

There are 161 state highways covering 18,476 kms and 44 national highways of 7,600 km road in Karnataka at present. 

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