Even as the ruling coalition parties in Karnataka - JD(S) and Congress - stage protest against IT department for conducting raids at the residences of minor Irrigation minister CS Puttaraju, top government sources have told Republic TV that the claims made by the minister and his party are false.
Republic TV has learnt from the sources that the raids were held at the residences and premises of engineers and some contractors, and that the ruling Karnataka government is falsely accusing the authorities of doing the same.
The workers of both JD(S) and Congress staged a massive protest outside the IT office in Bengaluru. Senior leaders of both the parties, including CM HD Kumaraswamy, deputy CM G Parameshwara and Minister of Irrigation, D Shivakumar joined the protest and accused BJP-led Centre of being the force behind the raids.
Earlier in the day, it was reported that I-T officials had conducted searches in the residences of the Karnataka minister in Mandya and Mysuru. The raids were reportedly conducted at 4:30 am.
This came just hours after Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy had predicted that raids will be carried on the JD(S) leaders. He had also said that he would do down the road taken by his counterparts in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. WB CM Mamata Banerjee and AP CM Chandrababu Naidu had blocked the CBI entry into their states.
"I have got specific information that some 200 to 300 CRPF sleuths have arrived from various parts of the country. They will be ferried from the airport to the city. They have been brought to Bengaluru from other states to carry out income tax raids in Karnataka," Kumaraswamy had told reporters at Mandya.
Kumaraswamy alleged that the Centre had resorted to politics of vengeance using the income tax officials as its agents.
Sending a stern message to income tax officials, he said, "I know the game income tax officials are playing at the final stage of election. They should be cautious because if they think that they can function like the agents of a political party forever, they may end up repenting."
(With inputs from PTI)