(Eds: Updates with more quotes of Reddy) Hyderabad, Sep 27 (PTI) The Income Tax Department on Thursday conducted searches at the residences of Telangana Congress Working president A Revanth Reddy here and at Kodangal in Vikarabad district. Also Read - No Food, no Jobs: Over 3 Lakh Trucks Stranded on Roads With Rs 35,000 Crore Goods Amid Lockdown
According to sources, searches were also conducted at the residence of Sebastian Harry who was an accused along with Revanth Reddy in a case related to bribing a nominated MLA to seek vote in favour of a Telugu Desam nominee in the Legislative Council elections in June 2015. Also Read - Coronavirus: Centre Exempts Customs Duty, Cess on Ventilators, COVID-19 Test Kits Till Sept 30
The Congress party condemned the raids and termed it as “political vendetta” by the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi in the state and the BJP at the centre, but both the TRS and BJP denied the charge and said they had nothing to do with the I-T Department’s actions. Also Read - 'China Must Refrain From Commenting on India's Internal Matters,' MEA on Kashmir Issue
A senior official of the I-T Department said the raids were aimed at an infrastructure company belonging to Revanth Reddy’s relatives.
Sources close to the development said searches were conducted at about a dozen places including those belonging to the relatives of the Congress leader at various locations in the city.
Revanth Reddy, who was appointed as one of the two Working Presidents of Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee recently, had earlier said that he was being targeted by the ruling parties and subjected to harassment.
Jubilee Hills police inspector P Chandra Shekar told PTI that they deployed police force near the Congress leader’s residence “to avoid any untoward incident”.
Revanth Reddy was away from home when the sleuths knocked at his Jubilee Hills residence. He was touring his constituency kicking off the election campaign.
Addressing a public meeting in Kosigi town in his constituency Kodangal, he alleged Prime Minister Narendar Modi and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao were trying to “foist” cases against him.
This may be my last speech in these elections. Today KCR and Narendra Modi are foisting false cases against me to ensure that I would not campaign any where in Telangana. They are trying to gain political mileage. Both of them decided to keep in prison at least for four months,” he claimed.
The I-T officials also searched the Congress leader’s residence in Kodangal in Vikarabad district.
Revanth Reddy cut short his poll tour and returned here in the evening.
Describing the I-T searches as “politically motivated”, TPCC president Uttam Kumar Reddy alleged that the TRS and BJP were hand in glove.
“IT & ED raids at @INCTelangana Working President @revanthanumulas house is pure political vendetta to demoralise our strong MLAs. The people will teach KCR a lesson for being hand in glove with the BJP and the Central govt. I severely condemn these politically motivated raids,” he tweeted.
On May 31, 2015, Revanth Reddy, then in Telugu Desam Party, was caught by Anti-Corruption Bureau while allegedly paying a bribe of Rs 50 lakh to Elvis Stephenson, a nominated MLA, for supporting TDP nominee Vem Narendar Reddy in Legislative Council elections held on June 1, 2015.
Later all the accused were granted bail.
“First it was @JaggaReddyT & now @revanthanumula, this is a clear sign of KCRs cowardice. He has no capacity to take on any of our leaders & hence resorts to these back-door moves.
“@INCTelangana will be united in its fight to rid Telangana soon of his autocratic & whimsical rule,” the TPCC president said in another tweet.
The city police had earlier issued notice to the Congress leader seeking his appearance as part of investigations in a case relating to alleged irregularities committed by office-bearers of a Co-operative Housing Society in 2004.
Speaking to reporters, Uttam Kumar Reddy dared the Income Tax department to conduct searches at Pragathi Bhavan, the official residence of caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.
“I dare Income tax officials. If you want money, go and conduct searches at Pragati Bhavan. You will get hundreds of crores. The ruling party is trying to oppress the opposition voice. At the time of elections they are resorting to such measures. These acts would not deter us from fighting against the TRS,” he said.
The TRS denied the Congress party’s allegations and distanced itself from the development.
“He (Revanth Reddy) himself was claiming that there will be raids against him. The searches are nothing to do with our (TRS) government. They are trying to provoke public with their statements,” TRS MLC Sudhakar Reddy.
Former BJP MLA Kishan Reddy said his party has nothing to do with the raids and condemned the remarks made by the Congress leaders that the BJP was behind them.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.