In a sensational election newsbreak, Republic TV has accessed exclusive pictures of the cash stash that was seized from the contractors and engineers by the Income Tax officers from the raids in Karnataka. As per government sources, the money was being routed to fund political campaigns of the Congress and JD(S) leaders ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The ruling coalition parties in Karnataka - JD(S) and Congress - staged protest against the IT department in the state alleging that they conducted raids at the residences of minor Irrigation minister CS Puttaraju.
However earlier on Thursday, top government sources had told Republic TV that the claims made by the minister and his party are false, adding that the raids were held at the residences and premises of engineers and some contractors.
It was reported that I-T officials had conducted searches in the residences of the Karnataka minister in Mandya and Mysuru at 4:30 am on Thursday.
Following the newsbreak, 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.
Speaking at the rally, 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 the election. They should be cautious because if they think that they can function as the agents of a political party forever, they may end up repenting."
(with PTI inputs)