K'taka minister raids: I-T seizes Rs 11cr cash; scans property

Bengaluru/New Delhi
3 Aug 2017

Cash of over Rs 11 crore has been seized till now by the Income Tax Department as part of the ongoing searches at multiple premises linked to Karnataka Energy Minister D K Shivakumar and his associates in connection with a case of alleged tax evasion. The minister has been overseeing the stay of 44 Gujarat Congress MLAs at a resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru, who have been brought to the Karnataka capital in view of the Rajya Sabha polls in their state. The raids that are continuing at many locations for the second day today, saw I-T sleuths seizing a number of documents, account books and financial papers. About Rs 8.33 crore cash has been seized from Delhi, Rs 2.5 from Bengaluru and Rs 60 lakh from Mysuru till now, a senior official said. "About Rs 11.43 crore cash has been seized till now from various locations. Some searches and surveys are still on," the official said.  He added that the valuation of some jewellery found during the searches is being done. Documents related to investments in real estate, including some alleged benami ones, are being analysed by the department, the official said. The department has said that it is investigating Shivakumar in a case of alleged tax evasion and huge undisclosed investments in real estate, jewellery and other sectors. Certain investments linked to him in Singapore and few other foreign locations are also under the scanner of the department, they said. Some shell firms and their operatives allegedly linked to this case are also being probed, the department sources had said yesterday.In a swoop down that raised a political storm, the I-T department had yesterday conducted searches at 64 locations and properties linked to Shivakumar. He has been put in charge of 44 MLAs lodged in the Eagleton resort near here to keep the flock together for preventing the BJP from "poaching" on them ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat where Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, is facing a tough battle. The ruling Congress in Karnataka will be holding a protest in the city later today against the raids on Shivakumar, accusing the Centre of "dictatorial" attitude and "murdering democracy". Shivakumar, hailing from a modest agrarian family, is an influential Vokkaliga community leader and also one of the wealthiest state ministers in the country. According to the affidavit filed by him for the 2013 Assembly polls, he had assets over Rs 251 crore, including those of his wife and children and liabilities of over Rs 104 crore. 55-year old Shivakumar, considered a resourceful trouble shooter for the Congress with proximity to the party high command, is a six-time MLA. He has also made known his chief-ministerial ambitions while making it clear he would bide his time. The raids at the resort had yesterday sparked a huge political row with Parliament getting disrupted and Congress calling it "unprecedented witch-hunt" to win one Rajya Sabha seat. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah alleged it was a politically motivated action to silence the voice against the BJP. Meanwhile, Karnataka minister D K Shivakumar's brother and Lok Sabha member D K Suresh today came to his defence following Income Tax raids at properties linked to him, saying he was "clean and a law abiding citizen". "Whatever Income Tax people ask, we will give proper answer, documents and things... my brother is clean and a law abiding citizen," he told reporters here, in the first reaction from the family.  Questioning IT sleuths accompanied by CRPF personnel coming to the resort where 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat are lodged, he alleged that there was political vendetta behind the raids. Suresh, representing Bengaluru rural constituency, said that raids were also conducted on his office and houses in Bengaluru and New Delhi. His reaction came hours after I-T sleuths swooped down on 64 properties linked to Shivakumar, who was overseeing the stay of the Gujarat MLAs at the resort, brought there by the Congress in an attempt to prevent "poaching" by the BJP ahead of the Rajya Sabha poll.(PTI)