Bengaluru: The income tax (I-T) department on Wednesday searched and raided at least 10 properties belonging to people linked with Karnataka energy minister D.K. Shivakumar in Bengaluru, Chennai and Delhi.

A senior I-T department official confirmed that the raids were conducted on the minister and his associates.

The raids add pressure on the minister, known for his troubleshooting skills within the party, after he had hosted at least 40 legislators from Gujarat in a resort outside Bengaluru for around 10 days earlier this month.

D.K. Suresh, Lok Sabha member of Parliament and brother of Shivakumar, on Wednesday said that the raids were part of the department’s plans to politically harass the minister and his associates.

According to Suresh, the homes and offices of Vishwanath Reddy and Anil Jain, associates of Shivakumar, were raided on Wednesday. Others like Congress party member Vijay Mulgund and Shivakumar’s personal secretary B.S.Sridhar’s homes were also searched.

The Congress has lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Union government alleging it was misusing investigation agencies to target political opponents.

“Using I-T department as a weapon of political vendetta is not only a blatant misuse of power, but also against principles of democracy and cooperative federalism," Karnataka chief minister K. Siddaramaiah said in a statement on 3 August.

The I-T department has denied all allegations.

The raids on Shivakumar’s home in the first week of August went on for three days. The minister and his brother appeared before the department on 7 August.

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