IT raids to threaten MLAs, defeat Ahmed Patel: Congress

Bengaluru: The Income Tax raid on Karnataka Minister D K Shivakumar at the resort where Gujarat Congress MLAs are lodged was an attempt to threaten them, party spokesman Shaktisinh Gohil alleged today. Gohil, himself a Gujarat MLA camping here, claimed he has a video clipping that contradicted the government's version that the place where MLAs are lodged was not searched. "They say that they had not gone to a place where MLAs are lodged, but I can show you a small video clipping...you can see the lobbies where we are lodged. I will post it on my Twitter," he told reporters here pointing to a video on his phone. "As things unfolded, I came out and started recording the video, but someone asked me to stop...I stopped."  "I wanted a small part of it; because no one should say tomorrow that they (IT officials) had not gone to the resort," he added. The minister, who has been put in charge of the 44 MLAs lodged at the resort to prevent the BJP from "poaching" them, was there with them when the search took place. The IT department has maintained that the search had "no concern" with the MLAs and that only the Minister's room was searched. Questioning the timing of the raid, Gohil alleged that it was an attempt to threaten them. "If there was something against D K Shivakumar, look at the timing, he has been a businessman for 30 years and files Income Tax... he has not committed any murder."  "If you still had to do something in connection with the case, couldn't you have waited for three days for us to go ?" he questioned. "This raid was not procedural, it was to threaten MLAs and give a loud and clear message in Gujarat that when they can conduct a raid on a Minister where Congress has it's government, anyone who stands by MLAs from Gujarat will not be spared," he added. IT officials said Rs 9 crore cash was recovered from the search of various properties linked to the minister. Gohil also appealed to the Supreme Court to take suo moto cognisance of the matter for the MLAs' safety. "If it feels right let the Supreme Court send a sitting judge to 44 MLAs here. I respect the Supreme Court; let the Supreme Court's sitting judge question each of our MLAs," he said. Stating that if the MLAs houses are raided, even Rs 1 lakh cannot be recovered, Gohil said they had rejected Rs 15 crore offers (to win them over) and come here. Charging BJP with "misusing" power out of "desperation", he said all the 44 Congress party MLAs are together and seven MLAs who have not resigned are still in contact with him. "Ahmed Patel, who is contesting the Rajya Sabha polls, will win," he said.

PTI