I-T denies Karnataka CM’s charges on raids

Bengaluru: The Income-Tax Department on Thursday refuted Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy’s charges of “revenge politics” and said the raids on contractors in the state were based on credible information.

“So far, no MP (member of Parliament), MLA (member of Legislative Assembly) or minister has been covered in the searches that are being carried out on contractors and connected persons across the state,” B.R. Balakrishnan, I-T Director-General for Karnataka and Goa, said in a statement here.

The official said the searches covered an entire spectrum and resulted in collection of credible evidence on tax evasion.

“The Department’s investigation wing carried out searches on professionals and businesses, including bureaucrats, breweries, multinational companies, mining barons, diagnostic centres, trusts, educational institutions, medical colleges, real estate, fisheries, film industry and politically exposed persons,” he added.

In a series of tweets earlier in the day, Kumaraswamy accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of doing revenge politics by using the I-T Department to carry out raids on important leaders of Karnataka’s ruling coalition of the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and the Congress.

He called the raids Modi’s surgical strike in the open to threaten his rivals. “Highly deplorable to use the government machinery and corrupt officials to harass opponents during election time,” he tweeted.

The Chief Minister also accused Balakrishnan of being a puppet in the hands of the Modi government and sought his dismissal for misusing his post for the BJP’s political benefit.

Balakrishnan, however, denied the charges. “The activities of the I-T Department should not be politicised, personalised or trivilised. In particular, statements that sound like an incitement to violence issued by persons holding responsible posts are deplorable,” he said.

To the charge that the I-T Department used the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in the raids and not the state police as has been the practice, Balakrishnan said the deployment of CRPF were requisitioned for security through the state police (ADGP Law & Order) following normal protocol and troops were not flown in from outside the state.

Asserting that the Department was committed to function in a professional and fearless manner in accordance with the law, the official said the investigation wing would act on credible information regardless of political affiliations.