Karnataka: IT raids conducted at office of Ankita Builders and its owner’s residence in Hubballi
Concurrent searches are currently ongoing at properties linked to a few other contractors, as per the sources.
CN Ashwath Narayan, a BJP leader and former deputy chief minister, took aim at the Congress government in the state, alleging that this money had been accumulated from contractors as a commission to finance forthcoming elections in five states.
“This proves the ‘ATM government‘ allegations (against Congress govt) with evidence… This is the small size consignment of the collection by the ‘ATM government’ that has been caught. Many such things are there. This is collected money. This is just a sample,” he said, as he urged other contractors to speak out about the money they had allegedly paid.
Another BJP leader and Member of the Legislative Council (MLC), N. Ravi Kumar, informed the media that the cash found at the contractor’s property is valued at Rs 42 crore. He further revealed that the currency notes are in denominations of Rs 500 and were stored in 23 boxes. There have been rumors circulating in the city that this money was amassed for the Telangana elections. He also alleged that it represented “commission” earned for settling Rs 650 crore in outstanding dues to contractors from the government.
Ravi Kumar called for a thorough investigation into the matter. Various other BJP leaders have made similar claims against the ruling Congress. In response to these “baseless” allegations, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah refuted the claims, asserting that “no state (unit of Congress) would request (money), and we would not provide it either.” He questioned the validity of the allegations, asking whether those making the claims had any evidence to support them.
Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, when asked about the Income Tax raids, commented, “Without politics, IT raids do not occur. This is politics in action. We are also aware of what is happening in Chhattisgarh, Telangana, and other states. Where the BJP is in power, nothing happens; where the BJP is not in power, such incidents take place.”
D Kempanna, the President of the Karnataka State Contractors’ Association, was questioned about reports of substantial sums of cash being discovered in the house of one of its office-bearers. He clarified that the contractor had not been involved in any contract work for the past eight years and had several other businesses, including agriculture and stone crushing. He affirmed that the law would take its course.
(With agency inputs)