Bengaluru: A dispute has erupted between the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP following recent Income Tax raids that uncovered unaccounted cash exceeding Rs 50 crore, including Rs 42 crore seized from a contractor.
The BJP’s state president, Nalin Kumar Kateel, has alleged that the money is linked to the Congress, a claim refuted by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who called it a baseless accusation.
The state BJP has decided to stage protests in various district and Taluk headquarters, demanding the resignations of Siddaramaiah and his deputy, DK Shivakumar, on Monday and Tuesday.
Nalin Kateel accused the Congress of operating an “ATM government” in the state to finance elections in five poll-bound states, alleging that the confiscated cash belongs to the Congress.
He stated, “Tomorrow and day after tomorrow, the BJP will stage a massive demonstration in all the district and Taluk headquarters,” following a meeting with district and Taluk unit office-bearers.
Kateel further claimed that just a few days ago, Rs 600 crore was released to contractors, and over Rs 45 crore was seized from a contractor’s residence, suggesting a direct link to the Congress. He demanded the resignations of the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister on moral grounds.
Union Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi alleged that the Congress has set a target of collecting Rs 1,000 crore from Karnataka alone.
In response to the allegations, Siddaramaiah dismissed them, stating, “This is a baseless allegation. Contractors do not belong to any political party. Neither do we seek funds from them nor do they provide us any,” while speaking to reporters in Mysuru.
Income Tax officials initiated raids at more than 45 locations in Karnataka, primarily in Bengaluru, and seized over Rs 50 crore from various individuals, including Rs 42 crore from a contractor and his son. The raids began on Thursday and are still ongoing, according to an I-T department official.