Income Tax Department officials on Wednesday raided Karnataka Power Minister D.K. Shivakumar’s residences and a private resort outside Bengaluru where 44 Gujarat Congress legislators are housed. Shivakumar had taken on the responsibility of  keeping the Congress MLAs  away from BJP’s clutches to prevent defection and horse-trading ahead of the Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls.

According to the IT department, Rs 10 crore in cash have been seized from these raids. 

The IT department is also expected to carry out  raids at premises owned by Shivakumar in Delhi’s Safdarjung area through most of Thursday. In Bengaluru, the Congress workers are holding protest against the IT raids.

Here’s all you need to know:

Who is DK Shivakumar? 

An MLA from the Kanakpura constituency in Karnataka​, DK Shivakumar currently holds the portfolio of ‘Energy Minister’ in the government led by Chief Minister K. Siddaramaiah. He was one of the richest candidates in the 2013 Karnataka polls, reports DNA.

Shivakumar is listed as the second richest minister in the country

According to an Association for Democratic Reforms report on crorepati ministers in 29 states and two Union territories, Shivakumar is listed as the second richest minister in the country with assets worth Rs 251 crore.

Is Shivakumar a victim of BJP witch hunt?

Interestingly, Shivakumar took on the troublesome task of keeping 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat away from  BJP’s clutches.The Congress has kept its Gujarat MLAs in the Eagleton resort to prevent defection and horse-trading ahead of the Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls. The Gujarat Congress MLAs were shifted as they alleged that they were being intimidated. Apparently, they were being offered Rs 15 crore in return supporting BJP in the poll for the single Rajya Sabha seat. The Congress MLAs were flown to Eagleton Golf Resort in Bengaluru’s outskirts in the late hours of Friday.

NDA Government denies allegations of witch-hunting

While the IT department maintained that the search at the luxury resort was planned in advance and had nothing to do with the Gujarat Congress MLAs staying there, the Congress called it “witch-hunt”. Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who is seeking a re-election to Rajya Sabha from Gujarat said, “BJP is on an unprecedented witch-hunt to win one Rajya Sabha seat”.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who spoke on the I-T searches in both Houses of Parliament, said that no search operation was conducted at the resort where the Gujarat Congress MLAs were staying, and only a minister who had “parked himself” there was picked up for questioning. In Rajya Sabha, Congress leader Anand Sharma raised the issue of the I-T raids and alleged that an attempt was being made to “derail and hijack” the Rajya Sabha elections.

The Eagleton Golf resort has been used to protect MLAs earlier as well

In 2006-07, the then JD (S) leader HD Kumaraswamy, in whose Ramanagara district the resort falls, had tucked away some of his party MLAs at the resort, following a move by a group to align with the BJP after breaking away from a Congress-JD (S) coalition.

The IT department is also investigating charges of alleged role of money power and huge transfer of illegal funds for polls. The search, described as an ‘evidence gathering exercise’ is being conducted by the Karnataka Investigation Wing of the Income tax department. According to IT department, the search is the continuation of an investigation which has been in progress for a considerable period of time.

(Feature Image Source: PTI)