Soon after news of the alleged suicide of the personal assistant of former Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara spread on Saturday, Congress leaders blamed harassment by Income Tax officials for the tragic incident.
Before Ramesh committed suicide, he had spoken to the media about it as he was unable to tolerate the harassment by tax officials, said Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah. I am not against income tax searches, but they should not be taken up to settle political vendetta. Let them [officials] conduct searches on everyone. Why are only Congress leaders being targeted. Is no one in the BJP running educational institutions?
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president Dinesh Gundu Rao recalled that he had spoken to Ramesh on Friday when he called to wish Dr. Parameshwara on his birthday. I am sad about his suicide. It is not possible to say now why he committed suicide. However, I-T officials harassed him and created an environment of fear. In the past, [Cafe Coffee Day founder] V.G. Siddhartha committed suicide in similar circumstances, he said, adding that an impartial inquiry should be conducted.
V.S. Ugrappa, former MP, urged the police to file a case against Income Tax sleuths on the charge of abetting suicide. I-T officials are acting as per the directions of the Union government and taking political revenge, he alleged.
Govt. has no role in raids
Meanwhile, speaking in Mysuru, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan rejected allegations that Income Tax searches were being held on the premises of Opposition leaders for political reasons. Calling such claims baseless, he said the Centre has nothing to do with the actions of agencies such as Income Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate.
Leaders under the scanner
Over the past two years, nearly a dozen Congress leaders have been searched by the Income Tax Department.
Besides disqualified legislators Ramesh Jarkiholi and Nagaraj, who have left the Congress now, the department has conducted raids on the properties of Belagavi Rural legislator Lakshmi Hebbalkar, former Minister D.K. Shivakumar, and MP from Bengaluru Rural D.K. Suresh.