Javadekar dismisses claim of vendetta in raids against Congress minister

Dismissing the allegations of a vendetta, Union minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday said the IT searches on properties linked to D K Shivakumar were aimed at tracking tax evaders.

Shivakumar has been hosting 44 Gujarat Congress MLAs at a resort near Bengaluru since Saturday, allegedly to prevent the BJP from “poaching” on them ahead of the August 8 Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat.

The exercise being carried out by the department was aimed at tracking tax evaders, Javadekar told reporters, adding that none of the Gujarat Congress legislators had been summoned, investigated or raided.

“Nothing has been done as vendetta. No Gujarat MLA has been summoned, investigated. No Gujarat MLA staying there has been raided.

The raided man is the Karnataka minister, nothing to do with Gujarat,” the HRD minister told reporters. Javadekar said the MLAs had been staying at the resort for the “last five days and will be there for another eight days (till the Rajya Sabha election)”.

Posing a counter question, he asked whether “law enforcement” should be stopped for 13 days. The BJP leader also said the law would take its own course and the government does not entertain corruption.

Terming the raids “a political vendetta and witch- hunt”, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge earlier in the day accused the government of using central agencies and said this would “ruin the ethos of democracy”.

The IT department conducted searches at multiple properties related to Shivakumar in connection with a tax evasion case. During the raid, the officials recovered Rs 9 crore cash from the search of various properties liked to the minister.