New Delhi/Bengaluru:The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday raided at least five places across Karnataka in a case relating to an ongoing investigation on demonetization, the investigating agency said.

The raids came under severe criticism from senior state Congress leaders, who accused the centre of misusing central agencies to target political opponents.

According to CBI, B. Prakash, the chief manager of Corporation Bank’s Ramanagara branch in Karnataka, in connivance with unknown people had illegally exchanged Rs10 lakh of demonetized notes with new currency, and tried to cover it up by fabricating the requisition slips.

Searches were conducted in Bangaluru, Kanakapura and Ramanagara, including the election cells in Kanakapura, besides the residences of three people, including the election cell-in-charge Shivananda, election cell clerk Nanjappa and Padmanabaiah, who had allegedly exchanged the banned currency in the bank.

D.K. Suresh, a member of Parliament from Bengaluru rural and the brother of senior Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar, held a press conference on Thursday to say how the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was using central agencies like the income tax department, Enforcement Directorate and CBI to target state party leaders. Suresh also alleged that he had received information that at least 11 members of his family were being investigated.

“We have been targeted by the BJP, Amit Shah and Narendra Modi. They have given a clear instruction to the government of India officials, including the CBI, I-T and ED. Some sources told us that they had a meeting three-four weeks ago," PTI reported on Thursday, quoting Suresh.

Former Karnataka chief minister and senior Congress leader, Siddaramaiah said that the centre was trying to intimidate its party leaders by misusing the CBI and other agencies.

I-T department raids on Shivakumar’s and his associate’s homes in August last year, had kicked off a political storm with many political parties accusing the NDA government at the centre of using state machinery to target opponents.

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