Bengaluru: Two days ahead of the second phase of the Lok Sabha election, the Income Tax department conducted massive raids in Karnataka’s Mandya and Hassan parliamentary constituencies, with several contractors from the coming under the agency’s radar. The I-T raids were carried out on close aides of three top state ministers on Tuesday.
A few close associates of Karnataka ministers – CS Puttaraju, Revanna and D.C. Thammanna – are under the scanner on suspicions that they helped facilitate the laundering of money in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls in the state. While aides of JD(S) leader Puttaraju and Thammanna were raided in Mandya, the income tax department also carried out raids on the associates of state minister Revanna in Hassan.
Meanwhile, the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) have cried foul and have termed the raids as “political vendetta”, accusing the Income Tax department of acting on the behest of the BJP-led Centre.
Notably, last month, the Income Tax department officials, along with CRPF personnel, had carried out raids at the residences of Karnataka Minor Irrigation minister CS Puttaraju and his nephew. The department had carried out raids at the residences of Narayana Reddy, Ashwath Gowda and Raya Gowda in Hassan, who are considered to be close aides of PWD minister Revanna.
Significantly, Revanna’s son and chief minister HD Kumaraswamy’s nephew Prajjwal is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from the Hassan constituency. D.C. Thammanna is the state transport minister.
In a tweet last month, Kumaraswamy had lashed out at the Centre, saying, “PM Modi’s real surgical strike is out in the open through IT dept raids. The constitutional post offer for IT officer Balakrishna helped the PM in his revenge game. Highly deplorable to use govt machinery, corrupt officials to harass opponents during election time.”
The constituencies of Mandya and Hassan in Karnataka go to polls on April 18, the second phase of Lok Sabha elections.