The Income Tax (I-T) department on Wednesday morning raided 39 premises, including the Bengaluru resort of Karnataka minister D.K. Shivakumar where he was staying along with 44 Gujarat Congress legislators.

“Shivakumar, the Energy Minister in Karnataka’s Congress government, is being investigated for tax evasion. Rs. 7.5 crore in cash has been found in the minister’s Delhi home,” a senior I-T official said.

A team of Income Tax officials, along with personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), arrived this morning at the Eagleton Golf Resort where 44 Congress lawmakers have been staying for four days. They were looking for Shivakumar, who was tasked with managing the Gujarat lawmakers. His room in the resort was searched and he was taken for questioning at his home.

However, Congress leaders have alleged a witch-hunt against party members and termed the I-T raids a “clear indication of political vendetta”.

“The BJP is on an unprecedented witch-hunt just to win one Rajya Sabha seat,” tweeted Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who is seeking a re-election to the Upper House from one of three seats in Gujarat.

“After using the state machinery and every other agency, these I-T raids show their utter desperation and frustration,” Patel, who is Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s political adviser, said in another tweet.

The Congress has said it was forced to stow away its lawmakers in Bengaluru as they were being intimidated by the ruling BJP in Gujarat and also being offered Rs 15 crore for their support in the Rajya Sabha polls on Tuesday.

The BJP has fielded party president Amit Shah, Union minister Smriti Irani and a rebel Congress legislator who will challenge Patel.

Two days before the Congress legislators checked in, the Bengaluru resort was asked by the Congress party’s government in Karnataka to pay Rs 982 crore as penalty to regularise 77 acres of land it has allegedly occupied illegally.

The state’s ruling Congress reportedly asked the resort to either pay up or surrender the land. The previous BJP government had, however, allowed the owners to keep the extra land for a regularisation fee. 

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