Income Tax (I-T) officials have been carrying out search and seizure operations at properties of several contractors in Karnataka since Thursday, sparking political allegations and counter allegations in the state.
While the department is yet to officially issue a statement about the operations, those in the know said cash of more than Rs 40 crore may have been seized from a property belonging to Ashwathamma, a former BBMP corporator and her husband R Ambikapathy, a contractor, in RT Nagar’s Atmananda Colony.
According to sources, multiple properties of contractors were searched on Thursday but the department found cash at Ambikapathy’s property in RT Nagar. On Friday, the department also conducted searches at his other properties and analysis of the seizures was still incomplete.
The money was reportedly stored in more than 20 cardboard boxes in an apartment where the contractor himself did not reside. One source said that the property was rented out by another contractor, but there was no official confirmation about the same.
The searches continued at multiple locations even as of late Friday, and officials from the I-T department TOI spoke with did not wish to comment.
Ambikapathy is the president of one of the two BBMP civil contractor’s associations and the vice-president of the Karnataka State Contractors Association headed by D Kempanna, which had made allegations that the previous government was charging 40% commission on all projects.
He was among the office bearers of the state association who were arrested in December 2022, in connection to a defamation case filed by BJP’s Munirathna. They were later released on bail.
Multiple BJP MLAs and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy on Friday alleged that the money found was part of Congress’ illegal “collection” to fund elections in different states. Deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar refuted allegations and termed the I-T operation “politically motivated”.