The income tax (I-T) department on Wednesday carried out raids at office and residences of a district level Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker in the coastal city of Karwar in Uttar Kannada district, about 520 kms from Bengaluru. Senior I-T officials confirmed that a total of ₹82.7 lakh in cash and about 500 grams in gold was seized from this person.
The raids on the BJP worker, Krishna Esale, coming at a time when political parties in Karnataka and other places across the country have accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Centre of misusing investigative agencies to target rivals in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls.
Though it was believed that the BJP worker was a close aide of Uttar Kannada member of Parliament, Anant Kumar Hegde, this could not be verified. Calls to Hegde went unanswered.
The Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress in Karnataka had accused Modi of trying to intimidate well-wishers of the parties by carrying out raids and searches against them. Karnataka chief minister H.D.Kumaraswamy also naming a senior I-T official from Bengaluru as one of the people acting on the PM’s orders . Raids carried out by the department in Mandya, Hassan and Bengaluru on Tuesday drew sharp criticism from political parties. The I-T department, in a statement on Tuesday, said that
those raided were involved in real estate, quarrying, stone crushing, government contracts, petrol stations and saw mill operators and managers of cooperative banks.
It said that these “sectors are prone to generation of black money".
The department had also carried out raids in the premises of Kanimozhi, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) candidate from Thoothukudi, in southern Tamil Nadu, late on Tuesday.
Non-National Democratic Alliance (NDA) parties had said that the Modi government had used central institutions to target political rivals and help it win another term in office.