Taxmen today raided Karnataka minister DK Shivakumar and searched 39 places before picking him up from a luxury resort in Bengaluru where he was staying with lawmakers flown by Congress from Gujarat to prevent a rash of defections. Rs. 5 crore in cash has been found in the minister's Delhi home, officials say.
Mr Shivakumar, the Energy Minister in Karnataka's Congress government, is being investigated for tax evasion.
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 42 Congress lawmakers have been staying for four days. They were looking for Mr Shivakumar, who was tasked with managing the Gujarat lawmakers. His room in the resort was searched and he was taken for questioning, according to sources.
The Congress rushed the lawmakers to Bengaluru late on Friday night after six lawmakers quit the party in Gujarat ahead of the Rajya Sabha election and the state polls later this year.
"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," said Mr Patel, who is Congress President Sonia Gandhi's political adviser.
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 Mr Patel.
Two days before the Congress legislators checked in, the Bengaluru resort was asked by the 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.