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Searches on Karnataka Minister, kin, aides continue (Lead)

Bengaluru, Aug 3 (IANS) Income Tax (IT) officials resumed simultaneous searches in the premises of tainted Karnataka Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar, his relatives and friends in the city, his constituency at Kanakapura and at Mysuru in the state, said an official on Thursday.

“Our teams have resumed the search operations at many places in the city, Kanakapura, Mysuru and New Delhi. They are scrutinizng the documents seized and questioning the Minister, his relatives and business associates on the sources of income, assets and cash found in their premises,” an IT official told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

Among the places under search include the residence of the Minister’s astrologer Dwarakanath Guruji and the National Hill View School in the city, which is run by one of his family trusts.

Security has been stepped up at the residences of the Minister, his younger brother D.K. Suresh in the city and Ramanagara in Bengaluru Rural district and the Minister’s father-in-law Thimmaya at Mysuru, with additional reinforcement of state reserve police.

Shivakumar represents the Kanakapura assembly segment, about 60 km from here, and Suresh is the Lok Sabha member from the neighbouring Bengaluru Rural segment.

Over 100 IT sleuths began the searches on Wednesday at about 60 locations in the state, in Delhi and Chennai, which led to seizure of several documents and cash worth Rs 10 crore from some of the locations.

The sleuths also raided a deluxe suite in the Eagleton Golf Resort at Bidadi, about 30 km from here, where Shivakumar was staying since July 30 to host the Congress party’s 44 legislators from Gujarat camping since July 29, ostensibly to prevent the rival BJP poaching them to defect from the Congress ahead of the Rajya Sabha by-poll in the western state.

In a related development state Chief Minister Siddaramaiah discussed the fallout of the tax raids on Shivakumar with some of the senior Cabinet Ministers and the ruling party’s state unit President G. Parameshwara at his official residence in the city.

“The Chief Minister has not scheduled any official engagements for the day as he is preoccupied with meetings at his residence with Ministers and officials and party leaders,” said an official.

“Using IT Department as a weapon of political vendetta is not only a blatant misuse of power, but also against principles of democracy and ‘cooperative federalism,” tweeted Siddaramaiah.

As per the declaration in the nomination for the 2013 assembly elections to the Election Commission, Shivakumar was said to be the second richest politician with assets valued at Rs 251 crore four years ago.

Hundreds of Youth Congress activists and party cadres, including women staged protests against the raids near the Minister’s residence in the city and Kanakapura and the main Income Tax office in the city centre.

–IANS
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