I-T dept asks Rathna Prabha for details of payments to contractors

Bengaluru: Tightening the screws further on the Karnataka government, the Income Tax department, which had recently raided a Minister, now wants details of contractors, who were paid Rs 25 lakh and above by five departments between January 1 and March 31 this year on the suspicion that the funds could be used for election purposes. 

Director General of I-T, investigations, B.R. Balakrishna has in a letter dated April 6  to Chief Secretary, K. Rathna Prabha, asked for the information from the departments of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Revenue, Energy, PWD and Water Resources. 

In his letter, Mr Balakrishna says intelligence received by the department  indicated that several big payments were made to the contractors of some of the departments of the state government during the last quarter of the financial year, 2017-18, which were meant to be used for election purpose. The I-T department has sought similar details for the financial year 2016-17 as well.

The Congress party has had a running feud with the I-T officer in question and even held a big demonstration before the I-T department a couple of weeks ago,accusing him of carrying out a witch-hunt against its  leaders  to force them to join the BJP. The I-T department,however, denied it had any intention to harass Congress leaders or the state government.

Currently, Energy Minister, D.K. Shivakumar, who was raided by the department, is facing  a criminal case and has got bail in a criminal conspiracy case. 

Unconfirmed reports say that in the last quarter of the 2017-18, the government paid over Rs 30,000 crore to contractors who, the I-T department suspects may have given a huge cut to the Congress party for election related work.

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