Bengaluru: Income-tax raids in Karnataka, on the first day of Navratri on Thursday, have brought to light the alleged involvement of over 25 middlemen, companies and contractors in connection with laundering of “cut” money allegedly made in irrigation contracts worth Rs 25,000 crore. This I-T raid would have gone unnoticed in a highly corrupt state such as Karnataka, but for the kingpin Umesh, who was a trusted personal assistant to former chief minister BS Yediyurappa and his children. Umesh, who is accused of collecting “commission” worth over Rs 2,500-3,000 crore is a bus conductor with the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), whose salary is a meagre Rs 32,000 per month.
The sudden I-T raid on BSY’s close confidantes has sent shockwaves across the ruling BJP in Karnataka. Even though Yediyurappa has downplayed the raids by distancing himself from them, insiders are claiming that he is upset. I-T sleuths have targeted Umesh, several contractors, chartered accountants, wholesale hardware traders and some others close to BSY’s second son BY Vijayendra. Besides Bengaluru, the search was conducted at several places, including Bagalkote and Tumkur. Bags of documents, pen drives, etc, have been seized from these locations.
While the BSY camp is shell-shocked over the incident, his detractors in the BJP are celebrating the downfall of Vijayendra, whom they hold responsible for massive corruption during his father’s two-year term.