Raids conducted late Monday night at a hotel in Hubballi city in Karnataka, where by-elections are set to be held to two assembly seats, created controversy as the Congress claimed that these were politically motivated.
The immediate cause for the grievance was the fact that chief minister HD Kumaraswamy was staying at the hotel, when the searches were conducted, a senior party official confirmed.
Kumaraswamy and senior leaders of the coalition were in Hubballi to campaign for the by-election to the Kundgol assembly seat. Bypolls are being held to the Kundgol and Chincholi assembly seats, which go to polls on May 19.
Though it was initially reported that the raids had been conducted by the Income Tax Department, a senior official of the department clarified that they were in fact carried out by the flying squads of the Election Commission.
“Based on a tip-off, a flying squad carried out searches on the premises,” a senior I-T official said on the condition of anonymity. The official added that there was a suspicion that money was being held in the hotel.
Searches were conducted at the Denissons hotel, according to officials and party workers familiar with the developments.
Siddaramaiah, former Karnataka CM and chief of the coordination committee of the coalition, said there were no objections to raids as such. “Let them raid, but let them also raid rooms occupied by BJP leaders. This is not the right way,” he said.
Searches by the I-T and other departments have been a source of controversy, with the coalition leaders claiming that they were being targeted. Matters reached such a head that on March 28, Kumaraswamy, Siddaramaiah, deputy chief minister G
Parameshwara, state Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao and water resources minister DK Shivakumar held a protest outside the I-T department office in Bengaluru.
May 14, 2019 19:27 IST