I-T seizes Rs7.5-cr in raids on Karnataka minister DK Shivakumar's properties

The Income Tax Department is reported to have recovered Rs7.5 crore in cash from the properties of Karnataka minister DK Shivakumar, following raids on various properties belongin to the minister.

The report comes after morning raids at the Eagleton Golf Resort in Bengaluru where 42 Congress MLAs from Gujarat are staying, invited opposition ire in Parliament.

I-T sources later clarified that the raids at the Eagleton Golf Resort were part of a probe into a suspected bribery case involving DK Shivakumar and were not aimed at the Congress MLAs or at the Eagleton Golf Resort.

Shivakumar is in charge of hospitality for Gujarat Congress MLAs in Bengaluru and this has led the I-T officials to the resort. I-T officials say they have carried out searches in 39 locations, including Shivakumar's residence in Kanakapura.

He was summoned in March by the IT Department after his name was found in the diary of Congress MLC Govind Raju. The authorities weren't convinced with his replies during his questioning then.

The IT dept recovered Rs5 crore cash from Shivakumar's Safdarjung Enclave residence in a similar raid in the national capital while another Rs2.5 crore were seized from his other properties.

Opposition Congress party, however, sees the raids as a BJP ploy to queer the pitch for the party in the 8 August elections to the Rajya Sabha. While Congress president Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel has been fielded from Gujarat, BJP's Amit Shah and Smriti Irani are in the fray from the state.

Slamming the I-T raid, Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam said Amit Shah is using all the central machinery to stop Ahmed Patel's bid to the Rajya Sabha.

''It is clear that the BJP was involved in horse trading in Gujarat. When Amit Shah became incapable of using notes, he brought NOTA. When we protested that, he brought in central agencies to harass the opposition. This is highly unfortunate; it is being viewed by the masses. Amit Shah is using illegal means to stop the election of Ahmed Patel to Rajya Sabha, he is taking this contest very personally,'' Nirupam said.

Defending the IT raid, Arun Jaitley responding to the uproar by Congress members said, "a search was carried out by IT to interrogate a Karnataka minister who was at the resort. No Congress MLA was questioned. The resort doesn't hold any immunity where authorities can't enter."

BJP leader Prem Shukla said if the IT department has suspected black money being distributed in the resort then it is bound to take effective action.

''Congress is completely baffled. It has brought its MLAs to Bengaluru to have a gala time and is questioning IT dept. which is simply doing its job. DK Shivakumar can't be let off if he is arranging black money at the resort. Action will be taken,'' Prem Shukla, BJP said.