In a shocking development, the Centre’s Income Tax department on Wednesday conducted raids at the rooms being used by the Gujarat MLAs currently staying in Eagleton Golf Resort in Bengaluru.
The IT officials have also raided the Karnataka energy minister DK Shivakumar’s residence. Shivakumar is responsible for the hospitality of the Gujarat MLAs. The raids, according to media reports, started at 7 AM on Wednesday morning.
Reacting to the unprecedented development, Ahmed Patel, who’s the political secretary to the Congress President Sonia Gandhi, told ANI, “BJP is on an unprecedented witch-hunt just to win 1 Rajya Sabha seat. After using state machinery and every other agency, these I-T raids show their utter desperation and frustration.”
Another Congress leader, Ajoy Kumar, said, “This is sick. Never thought our country will reach to this state.”
The party’s head of media, Randeep Surjewala told ANI, “BJP has used every dirty and ugly trick to run a conspiracy to win Rajya Sabha seat in Gujarat. Attempt was made to bribe legislators in Gujarat; when everything failed, a frustrated BJP Govt now resorting to IT raids on Congress.”
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who the IT department reports to, said in Rajya Sabha that no raids were conducted at Resort adding that authorities went to look for just one MLA.
His cabinet colleague, Dharmendra Pradhan contradicted him by flaunting the raids saying ‘rule was same for everyone.’
“Congress ke paap ka ghada bhar chuka hai (Congress’ pot of sins has been filled to the brim),” he was quoted by ANI.
Congress party, which had alleged poaching of its MLAs by the BJP allegedly for Rs 15 crore each ahead of the 8 August Rajya Sabha elections, had taken their 44 legislators to Bengaluru. The party had alleged that the Centre’s Narendra Modi government was using its agencies to harass their elected representatives.
Modi, in the past, has talked about eliminating Congress from India. The prime minister and his party have come for considerable flak for abusing the central government agencies and allegedly using intimidation to target opposition parties.
Congress needs 46 MLAs’ votes in Gujarat to ensure its candidate, Ahmed Patel’s election to Rajya Sabha. It had 57 MLAs, but six of them have already joined the BJP. The party said the BJP had paid huge sum of money to steal its MLAs.
Patel, a veteran Congress leader from Gujarat had told NDTV that the BJP president, Amit Shah, had decided to ensure his defeat at any cost because the latter held him responsible for being jailed during the UPA regime.
Shah had spent months behind bars and was banned from entering Gujarat for his alleged role in fake encounter cases. He’s one of the BJP candidates in 8 August Rajya Sabha elections.