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IT raids on Karnataka minister, Bengaluru resort where Gujarat Congress MLAs are holed up

The Congress has reacted sharply to the raids, saying they are a 'witch hunt'. Photograph: (ANI)

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Aug 02, 2017, 03.33 AM (IST)

The income tax department conducted raids Wednesday morning on Karnataka energy minister D Shivakumar's homes and the Eagleton Golf Resort in Bengaluru where the Gujarat Congress MLAs are holed up. 

The income tax department said raids were conducted on 39 of Shivakumar's properties in Bengaluru and Delhi. It added that some 120 personnel carried out the raids. 

And that they had taken the help central paramilitary forces to conduct the raids.  

The MLAs are in Bengaluru because the Congress is worried they might defect to the BJP. 

Six Gujarat Congress MLAs have already resigned from the party, with three of them joining the BJP. 

Shivakumar is responsible for looking after the MLAs while they are in Bengaluru. 

The Congress reacted sharply to the raids calling them a "witch hunt". 

Rajya Sabha was adjourned after Congress MPs created an uproar in the house over the raids. 

"BJP is on an unprecedented witch hunt just to win one Rajya Sabha seat," ANI reported senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel as saying. 

Patel is fighting the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections from Gujarat and his chances will be dented should any more of the Gujarat Congress MLAs leave the party. 

"It is now becoming a trend to blatantly misuse powers of the state," ANI reported the Congress' Anand Sharma said in the Rajya Sabha. 

He said D Shivakumar and his brother were coordinating the stay of the Gujarat MLAs, which is why the timing of the raids was "targeted".  

"No search has taken place in the resort as such and no MLA was searched, only one particular Karnataka minister was searched," finance minister Arun Jaitley replied to the Congress' charges in the Rajya Sabha. 

The income tax department later said only Shivakumar's room in the resort was searched, adding that their raid had been planned in advance and that it had nothing to do with the Gujarat Congress MLAs. 

The resort however had received a notice from the income tax department two days before the MLAs got there. The notice said the resort owed Rs 982 crore. 

The income tax department's argument did not wash with the Congress. 

"BJP has used every dirty and ugly trick to run a conspiracy to win Rajya Sabha seat in Gujarat," ANI reported Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala as saying. 

"They want no one on the Opposition benches and want everyone with BJP. Won't let this happen," ANI reported the Congress' Kapil Sibal as saying.  

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