Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah yesterday said that attempts by BJP to woo senior Minister D K Shivakumar, under Income Tax department scanner, would not succeed even as the saffron party dismissed the allegation as a ploy to create confusion.
“He is a Congressman by birth, he began his political career in Congress… so BJP’s attempts will not work with him. Attempts through IT will also not work. Shivakumar will not budge to such things,” he told reporters in Hubballi.
He was replying to a question about media reports that the BJP was wooing Energy Minister Shivakumar to join the party with “implicit threat” of further I-T action if he failed to defect. Rubbishing the claim, BJP state unit chief B S Yeddyurappa ruled out Shivakumar joining the party and said it was an attempt to create confusion.
“It is a political ploy by the chief minister out of malice to create confusion,” he said in response to a question on the issue by reporters in Mangaluru.
Shivakumar is currently under the I-T department scanner in connection with raids conducted at various properties linked to him in August for alleged tax evasion. To a specific question about Shivakumar reportedly being lured with deputy chief minister’s post in the event of the BJP coming to power in the assembly polls due early next year, Siddaramaiah said, “Can they succeed in luring a Congressman?. Is he (Shivakumar) not in power now?” “There is no such position called deputy chief minister constitutionally, the post is just a political arrangement,” he added.
Meanwhile, the I-T department here has issued a strong denial as they refuted the claims made by Siddaramaiah. A statement issued by it said they are a professional and politically neutral department and the searches carried out have, without exception, resulted in admission and detection of previously undisclosed income running into hundreds of crores of rupees and seizure of large amounts of cash and jewellery.
The statement made by the chief minister, it said is “factually baseless and is strongly denied”. “No Income Tax officer or official has at any point of time made any such statement to the Minister (Sivakumar) or to anyone else,” it added. Shivakumar’s properties were searched for three consecutive days in connection with a tax evasion case.
During the I-T raids at about 66 places across the country, the department officials claimed they had seized cash and jewellery worth over Rs 15 crore. Shivakumar had on November 6 appeared along with his family members before I-T officials here for questioning.
It was his seventh such appearance. Siddaramaiah also claimed that many from BJP were in touch with him to join the Congress. “We are checking if they are from RSS background. We will not take them if they are from RSS, because they are communal, he alleged.