I-T department's crackdown on JD(S) leaders continue; party calls for removal of top poll officer

I-T department and the Election Commission squads have been conducting a series of pre-poll in Karnataka. 

I-T department's crackdown on JD(S) leaders continue; party calls for removal of top poll officer

BENGALURU: Income Tax (I-T) department conducted several raids on premises of close aids of Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy in Mandya on Tuesday morning. Raids were also being carried out in Hassan and Bengaluru.

The searches were conducted at the properties of Janata Dal (Secular) leader and Mandya Zilla Panchayat President Nagarathna Swamy, and Zilla Parishad member Timme Swamy. Both Nagarathna and Timme are said to be close aides of Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.

"Searches being conducted today are based on credible intelligence that certain businessmen have earned income not disclosed to tax and are in possession of undisclosed assets," I-T department said in a statement.

"The taxpayers covered in today's search operations are engaged in the business of real estate, quarrying and stone crushing, executing Government contracts, operating petrol bunks, saw mill and managing cooperative Banks. These are sectors which are prone to generation of black money.," it said.

Five residences in Hassan, one in Bangalore and one in Mandya along with their business premises are covered as part of the search operations, added the department.

I-T department and the Election Commission squads have been conducting a series pre-poll raids on several top leaders in Karnataka. 

On Sunday, rooms of Revenue Minister RB Udhaya Kumar and others were searched by the Election Flying Squad and the I-T department at the MLA hostel here. 

Earlier this month, the EC had stopped Kumaraswamy's vehicle and his convoy for checking. The Chief Minister later accused the poll panel of harassing his family and party men, and called Prime Minister Narendra Modi "worse than Hitler".

Last month, officials raided the residence of Karnataka Minor Irrigation Minister CS Puttaraju and at multiple locations in Bengaluru, Hassan, Musuru and Mandya. Properties of 17 contractors and seven officers from the Public Works Department (PWD) and Irrigation Department were also raided.

"Modi is a dictator -- a man worse than Hitler. He is the worst prime minister who brought a bill to confiscate the personal properties of individuals," Kumaraswamy told his supporters here on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, Karnataka`s ruling Congress-Janata Dal-Secular alliance on Monday urged the poll panel to transfer the state`s Director General, Income Tax, BR Balakrishnan for "selectively" carrying tax raids on their leaders and contractors and traders close to them.

"In view of the partisan tax raids on our political leaders, their relatives, contractors and traders ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in the state on April 18, Balakrishnan has to be transferred outside the state," the allies said in a joint letter to Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar.

Balakrishnan had sought action against Kumaraswamy and others for allegedly intimidating I-T officers and obstructing them from discharging their duties during the raids. He also demanded cases be registered against all those who took part in the protests for unlawful assembly, intentional insult, breach of peace, criminal intimidation and threat of injury to public servant under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), reported news agency PTI.

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