Bengaluru: The Income Tax (I-T) department has issued a notice to Karnataka chief secretary alleging that it had received information that several big payments were made to contractors in the last quarter of the previous fiscal (2017-18), that would be used for the upcoming assembly elections, scheduled for 12 May.

“Intelligence received by us indicates several big payments have been made to the contractors of some of the departments in the state government during the last quarter of the financial year 2017-18, which are meant to be used for election purposes," according to the letter dated 6 April.

The letter was from B.R. Balakrishnan, director general of income tax (investigation) Karnataka & Goa to the states chief secretary K. Ratna Prabha.

The letter by tax officials alleging irregularities against the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government comes at a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the principal opposition, has alleged corruption and levelled other serious charges against the party in the run up to the polls. The BJP and Janata Party (Secular) have levelled several allegations of corruption and misusing government machinery for electoral gains.

“In connection with the above it is requested that details of all the payments released to contractors from 01.01.2018 to 31.03.2018 by the departments of a) Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, b) Revenue, c) Energy, d) P W D (public works department) and e) Water resources may be furnished to this office immediately, wherever the amount of payment involved is more than 25 lakhs after 01/01/2018 along with details of TDS, if any, deducted," the letter states.

“We have received the letter and will try to respond with all details by Monday or Tuesday," Ratna Prabha said on Sunday.

The earlier I-T department raids on ministers like D.K. Shivakumar and others was used by the Congress to accuse the centre of misusing the tax authorities to target political opponents.