Rajya Sabha stalled over IT raids on Karnataka minister

Raj Kamal Rao

Congress party members in Rajya Sabha objected to the timing of Income Tax raids on the houses of Karnataka Minister Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar on Tuesday Morning. D.K. Shivakumar and his brother D.K. Suresh have been taking care of the Gujarat legislators’ stay in the city.

Karnataka Power Minister D K Shivakumar (C) with Gujarat Congress MLAs arrive for a media conference at a resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru

Karnataka Power Minister D K Shivakumar (C) with Gujarat Congress MLAs arrive for a media conference at a resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru

The search and seizure operations have also taken place at the Eagleton Resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru where Gujarat Congress legislators have been kept in anticipation of cross voting during the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat.

Congress leader Anand Sharma speaking Rajya Sabha

Congress leader Anand Sharma speaking Rajya Sabha

Raising the issue, Congress leader Anand Sharma accused the government of hijacking elections in Gujarat.

“Govt is using state authority and power…Now in Bangalore where MLA’s are there, they have started income tax raids… They are conducting raids on the houses of D.K. Shivakumar who is a minister in Karnataka government,” Sharma said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speaking in Rajya Sabha

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speaking in Rajya Sabha

Countering Sharma, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley clarified that the raids by IT on Shivkumar’s house have no connection to Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat.

“No search has taken place in the resort where Congress MLAs are staying, and none of them were searched… Authorities have gone to the resort only to confront Shivkumar who has parked himself in that resort…Now they have taken him to his house and enquiring about tax evasions,” the Finance Minister said.

Meanwhile, the I-T department has already issued a formal statement delinking the operations at the resort with the stay of the Gujarat MLAs.

 “The search under Section 132 of the Income Tax Act is an evidence gathering exercise which is being carried 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. 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 Minister being searched was staying at a resort near Bangalore where some MLAs from another state are put up. Hence the Minister’s room alone is being searched. The search team has no concern with the MLAs and there has been no contact with MLAs and the search team,” the full statement said.

Ghulam Nabi Azad joined in Anand Sharma and questioned the timing of the raid and objected to the clarification given by the finance minister.

“Why these raids do stated only today…why couldn’t they search in the last one month….,” Azad said.

As Congress continued protests, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien adjourned the house for ten minutes.