New Delhi, August 3: The Income Tax Department continues raids for the second day on Thursday at premises owned by Karnataka Energy Minister DK Shivakumar. The raids are now being conducted at New Delhi’s Safdarjung area even as the Congress is calling it a witch-hunt.

Congress workers held protest in Bengaluru against the I-T raids on Shivakumar.

Raids were also conducted at Shivakumar’s premises in Bengaluru today.

On Wednesday, the I-T department had conducted searches at multiple properties related to Shivakumar in connection with a tax evasion case. The minister was overseeing the stay of 44 Gujarat Congress MLAs at a resort near Bengaluru to prevent the Bharatiya Janata Party from allegedly “poaching” on them.

The BJP has reiterated that raids should not be linked to Gujarat MLAs who are staying in the resort. “Everyone knows DK Shivakumar is a rich man and is in politics from many years. Raids shouldn’t be linked to Gujarat MLAs,” BJP leader and former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa said.

During raids, I-T officials recovered Rs 9.5 crore from the search of various properties linked to the minister. He was brought to his house in Bengaluru from the resort by the I-T team.

Officials privy to the raids had clarified that I-T sleuths reached the Eagleton resort to question the minister, who was staying at the resort for the night. The I-T department had said that the resort was not being raided. They had said only the minister’s room in the resort was “searched” and not of the MLAs from Gujarat.

“The search team has no concern with the MLAs and there has been no contact with MLAs and the search team,” the department said.

The Congress legislators have been camping at the resort since Saturday till Rajya Sabha elections on August 8.  Already, six of the 57 Congress MLAs in Gujarat, from where senior party leader Ahmed Patel is contesting for the Rajya Sabha, have resigned from the party in the last few days with three joining the BJP.

The party has apprehensions over Patel’s election prospects if more MLAs defect as he needs the support of at least 46 MLAs. In a bid to avoid horse-trading the Congress holed up the MLAs in the Bengaluru resort.

With inputs from PTI