M A I N   N E W S

I-T raids on Reddy brothers, 4 BJP MLAs in Karnataka
Tribune News Service & PTI

Bangalore, October 25
Income tax officials conducted simultaneous raids on the premises of three ministers, Karnataka Health Minister B Sreeramulu and mining magnates Reddy brothers, besides four other ruling BJP MLAs here today. The premises of Reddy brothers’ associates in Bangalore, Bellary and Hospet were also raided.

The officials launched raids at over 60 places. The raids are believed to be linked to political horse-trading underway in the state with huge cash allegedly being offered by the ruling party to allure Opposition MLAs to crossover to the BJP.

During the operation launched early this morning, several documents were seized. The raids were conducted by a 300-strong team of sleuths headed by G Rajeshwara Rao, Director General (Investigation), Karnataka and Goa.

A room in the Legislators’ Home here was also raided. “Searches are on,” an IT official said several hours after the raids were initiated.

Raids were also conducted at the residences and offices of MLAs Suresh Babu and B Nagendra in Bellary and Hospet, as well as at the residence of Raghavacharya, advocate of Janardhan Reddy in Bangalore, and at the residence of Ali Khan, personal assistant of Janardhan Reddy.

The BJP said the raids were a “political conspiracy” and nothing but an attempt by the ruling dispensation to take undue advantage of the political power at the Centre.

Karnataka Government’s representative in Delhi and former BJP MP from Mangalore Dhananjay Kumar said the raids were aimed at weakening the BJP government in the state. He said the BJP was strong enough to withstand such harassments.

“People who are sitting in the Opposition in the state are getting frustrated in their attempt to de-stabilise the democratically elected government and are now up to misuse of power vested in the hands of the Government of India,” said Dhannajay Kumar in a veiled attack on the Congress.

At least four mining companies in Hospet came under the scanner of the income tax authorities.

The raids came against the backdrop of the political turmoil in the state which saw 16 MLAs withdrawing their support to the BS Yeddyurappa government forcing it to face two floor tests in the 224-member Assembly. Four MLAs have deserted the Opposition ranks by giving up their memberships.

The Congress and the JD-S have accused the BJP of poaching on their MLAs to shore up its numbers in the House, but the ruling party has hit back at the Opposition, charging it with trying all means to topple the state government.

Though the BJP government has won the trust vote, a cloud of uncertainty still looms large with the Karnataka High Court reserving its verdict on the plea of 11 rebel BJP MLAs challenging their disqualification by the Speaker and pendency of petitions filed by five disqualified Independent MLAs.

Opposition Congress leader Siddaramaiah and JD-S state unit chief HD Kumaraswamy refused to react to the IT raids saying, “It is a routine thing done by the Income Tax Department based on the information collected by its enforcement wing”.





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