Bengaluru: Income tax (I-T) department officials on Thursday carried out investigations on at least two companies in Gandhi Nagar in Bengaluru associated with the energy minister D.K. Shivakumar, his brother D.K. Suresh said on Thursday.
Suresh, the member of Parliament from Bengaluru rural, said that the I-T department had visited the minister’s family home in Doddakanahalli, relatives’ homes in Bengaluru and Mysuru for the second time on Thursday.
“They (I-T department) have issued a notice and summoned us on a particular date," Suresh said.
The raids on people close to Shivakumar, seen as a Congress party troubleshooter, triggered a political backlash with the Congress party accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led-centre of targeting political opponents by misusing official investigating agencies.
The I-T department had raided Shivakumar’s Bengaluru home on Wednesday. The officials spent another day with Shivakumar at his residence in Bengaluru on Thursday, with paramilitary personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) guarding the gates.
Shivakumar has been hosting at least 40 legislators from Gujarat since Friday night at a golf resort outside Bengaluru. The legislators have been camped in the resort to avoid any defection ahead of the 8 August re-election bid of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s close aide, Ahmed Patel.
Some legislators on Thursday alleged that the I-T department officials had warned MLAs to return to Gujarat.
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday objected to the tax department using the CRPF without informing or seeking assistance from the local police. This was followed by a letter by the state home department to the central government’s revenue department, complaining that armed CRPF men assisting in the raids had led to protests which could have escalated into a law and order situation.
The Congress party’s support for Shivakumar is seen as a sign of the popularity and confidence enjoyed by the six-time legislator. Shivakumar is also a member of the Ahmed Patel-led central committee on the party’s campaign against demonetisation.
“People could not speak out openly against Shivakumar the same way as they could about G. Parameshwara (Karnataka Congress president) or even Siddaramaiah," Harish Ramaswamy, political analyst and professor at the Karnataka university.
Shivakumar, born in the dominant Vokkaliga community, started his political career by contesting unsuccessfully against former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda in 1985. He again contested and won from the same seat in 1989 and has grown to be one of the most powerful leaders. He has served in various capacities under different chief ministers.
“He is definitely one of the crisis managers for the party," a senior member of All India Congress Committee (AICC) told Mint, requesting not to be named.
He added that when the Congress decided to shield its Gujarat legislators from the BJP, Shivakumar was automatically the man tasked with the job as he has proven his mettle in “this kind of situations".
A protege of former Congress leader S.M. Krishna (now with the BJP), Shivakumar had also been tasked with the job of hosting former Maharashtra chief minister the late Vilasrao Deshmukh and around 70 MLAs in 2002.
Shivakumar had also campaigned for the Congress in Assam assembly elections.