The Telegraph
Saturday , August 5 , 2017

Did not break law, says Karnataka minister at centre of tax-raid storm

Bangalore, Aug. 5 (Agencies): The Karnataka minister raided and grilled by income-tax officers in a tax evasion case said on Saturday he has not violated the law, and the truth will come out.

The August 2 action against power minister D.K. Shivakumar took place when he was hosting 44 Gujarat Congress members of the legislative assembly at a resort near here to prevent the Bharatiya Janata Party from poaching them before the August 8 elections to the Rajya Sabha from the state.

”I'm not the kind of person that violates the law and the Constitution...the truth will come out,” Shivakumar told reporters after emerging from his residence at a posh locality here.

“Only after I get the entire panchnama and the documentation will I speak to you,” he said, referring to the seizure list that tax authorities prepare after such raids.

He then pushed off to a temple. “I will speak to you later.. I'm going to a temple, then I'm going to the resort where the MLAs are lodged,” he said.

The income-tax department has said that, during the searches at about 66 places across the country linked with Shivakumar, they had seized cash and jewellery worth over Rs 15 crore so far.

The action against Shivakumar had created an uproar in Parliament. The opposition parties say the raids were timed to scare the Congress lawmakers.

The Congress, which has lost half-a-dozen MLAs in Gujarat, is going all out to ensure that its candidate Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, makes it to the upper house.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley had denied that the raids had anything to do with the Rajya Sabha elections. He had told Parliament on Wednesday that the income-tax officers had raided the resort only to pick up the minister to take his statement, and to search his room.

“Don't link it with (the) Gujarat) MLAs, link it with economic offence,” Jaitley had told Parliament.

Shivakumar, 55, who hails from the Vokkaliga community, has considerable influence in Bangalore Rural and neighbouring Ramanagara districts.

He is also the Congress' propaganda committee chief ahead of the 2018 assembly elections.

For the state unit of the Congress, Shivakumar is a troubleshooter with access to top leaders in Delhi. He is a six-time MLA.

Shivakumar, thanking the party and its leadership for backing him, said, “All my leaders across the country have stood by me in the crisis...I don't want to embarrass my party and I will not.”

”At no point of time I will let down my leaders and my party,” he said.

”Things have been discussed, deliberated at various levels...I don't want to tell anything now,” he added.

When asked whether the IT searches were complete, Shivakumar said, “You saw the officials walking out.”

”I don't know,” he said when asked about the raids in other places.

”I have got to know that it (raids) has happened at 70 or 80 places only through you...Please find out yourself,” he said.

On Wednesday, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had alleged that the income-tax action was an attempt to silence the voice against the BJP.

He had on Friday termed the raids as a ”politically motivated” move on part of the Centre.

The raids at the resort, had on August 2 sparked a huge political row with Parliament getting disrupted and the Congress terming it an “unprecedented witch-hunt” to win one Rajya Sabha seat. 

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