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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

Congress questions timing of I-T raids in Kalaburagi

Condemning Income Tax raids on the houses and business outlets of Congress leaders and supporters on Saturday, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) spokesperson and former Minister Priyank Kharge questioned the timing of the raids ahead of Assembly Elections in the State.

“Income Tax Department sleuths conducted raids on the houses and business outlets of some Congress leaders and supporters on Saturday. The raids have been conducted a few days ahead of Assembly Elections in the State. BJP is sure that it is going to lose the electoral battle in the State. The I-T raids on Congress leaders are its desperate bids to prevent Congress from winning the elections and forming the government in the State. We are not afraid of such threat,” Mr. Priyank said.

Alleging the BJP of “misusing” law enforcement agencies such as the Income Tax Department, Central Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement Directorate, Mr. Priyank said the 98% of the raids conducted by such agencies were against the Opposition leaders.

“BJP has a magic washing machine. It considers all leaders in the Opposition as corrupt. If some of them join BJP, they would automatically get cleansed overnight. The I-T, CBI and ED does not conduct raids against such defectors. But they continue their raids on those who are still in the Opposition,” Mr. Priyank said.

Aravind Chauhan, who, after working in the BJP for 10 years, joined Congress two weeks ago, was among a few Congress leaders whose premises were searched by I-T sleuths.

“Mr. Chauhan was in BJP for 10 years. There were no I-T raids on his premises all those years. When he joined the Congress, I-T Separtment raided his house and stone crusher unit in Chittapur. Did he earn such an amount of money which is disproportionate to his known source of income in two weeks? Did he become corrupt in two weeks? The raids clearly show how the BJP, which is going to lose elections in the State, is desperately targeting Congress support base,” Mr. Priyank said, asserting that Congress was not afraid of such intimidating tactics of the BJP.  

Mr. Chauhan said that he had to quit BJP and join Congress as the former had fielded history sheeter Manikant Rathod in Chittapur as he was not ready to seek votes for a rowdy who had criminal cases in four States.

“Mr. Manikanth Rathod is a thief. He has 40 cases against him in various places in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana. He is convicted in one of the cases in which he was found guilty of smuggling milk powder packets meant for women and children. Most of the cases are pertaining to smuggling of rice bags that were meant for distribution among the poor under the Anna Bhagya scheme. How can I go to people and seek people’s votes for such a criminal? My conscience did not permit me to do it. Within two weeks of quitting the BJP and joining the Congress, the I-T sleuths conducted raids on my house and stone-crushing units,” Mr. Chauhan said.

When asked about the alleged plot to assassinate him and his family by Mr. Manikanth Rathod, Mr. Priyank said that the Congress legal cell would meet the Director General of Police in Bengaluru and file a complaint on Monday as it was a matter concerned to the life of All-India Congress Committee president.

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