The Income Tax department has recovered a total of Rs 4.52 crores in the raids conducted at around 30 premises of former Deputy CM of Karnataka G Parameshwara on Thursday.
The Income Tax raids are being continued today at the premises of Siddhartha Medical College in Bengaluru, which is run by a trust related to Congress leader G Parameshwara.
Parameshwara’s family runs the Siddhartha Group of Institutions which was established by his father H M Gangadharaiah 58 years ago.
In coordinated raids, more than 300 Income Tax sleuths swooped down on premises linked to two prominent Congress leaders in Karnataka – former deputy chief minister G Parameshwara and former MP R L Jalappa’s son J Rajendra on Thursday.
Besides raiding the office, residence and institutions belonging to Parameshwara, the I-T officials also searched the residence of his brother G Shivaprasad and personal assistant Ramesh, sources in the department said.
Rajendra runs the R L Jalappa Institute of Technology at Doddaballapura and Kolar.
The raids at premises belonging to Parameshwara and others are in connection with a multi-crore tax evasion case linked to the NEET exams, officials said.
A team of around 80 I-T officials, apart from police personnel, undertook the searches at various locations in the state and some places in Rajasthan.
The department took the action as part of its probe to check alleged irregularities in the conduct of NEET exams in two medical colleges run by a trust in Tumakuru city in Karnataka.
Parameshwara is stated to be the chairman of the trust identified as Shri Siddhartha Education Trust.
A case of alleged forgery in the NEET exam by impersonation and alleged illegal payments made to secure seats is the trigger for the I-T action, they said.
Searches are also being conducted in Rajasthan to trace some students who impersonated in the exams, they said.
Rushing to Bengaluru after the raids, Parameshwara told reporters here that he has no information why the searches were carried out.
“I have no information on why the raids were carried out. They (I-T officials) called me. So rushed to meet them,” he said.
He said his family is not engaged in any business other than running the education institutions and has been filing income tax returns promptly.
Parameshwara also refused to comment on the question whether the raids were politically motivated.
Senior Congress leaders including former chief minister Siddaramaiah and JD(S) supremo and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda condemned the raids.
Siddaramaiah tweeted, “The series of IT raids on @DrParameshwara, RL Jalappa & others, are politically motivated with malafide intention.”
“They are only targeting @INCKarnataka leaders as they have failed to face us on policy & corruption issues. We won’t budge to any such tactics!!” he added.
The series of IT raids on @DrParameshwara, RL Jalappa & others, are politically motivated with malafide intention. They are only targeting @INCKarnataka leaders as they have failed to face us on policy & corruption issues.
We won’t budge to any such tactics!!
— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) October 10, 2019
Gowda said “it’s condemnable,” without elaborating.
Senior Congress leader M Mallikarjun Kharge termed the raids as “vengeance politics”.
“They are trying to terrify Congress leaders. It wants to convey to the Congress workers that whoever wishes to join Congress should take note of it,” he said.
Parmeshwara was the deputy chief minister of Karnataka from May 2018 to July 2019.