Tax raids continued overnight at the residential properties and offices of Telegu Desam Party leader CM Ramesh in Hyderabad and Kadapa. The Rajya Sabha parliamentarian in Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s party has said the raids were a “political vendetta”.
Tax officials conducted searches at his business premises at Jubillee Hills in Hyderabad, Amaravathi and Kadapa and also at Rithwik Projects, a company Mr Ranesh owns.
The raids started on Friday when multiple locations, including the office of a company owned by Mr Ramesh’s relative, were raided. The firm, Rithwik Industries, is said to have a turnover of close to Rs 1,000 crore.
CM Ramesh, however, termed the raids “political vendetta”. “It is a clear-cut case of political vendetta… In fact, the Prime Minister himself warned us right inside parliament about consequences since we have been fighting for the state’s rights. The IT raids are a result of the warning,” said Mr Ramesh who is in Delhi.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) also condemned the raids. “This is an attack on the Andhra people. The Modi government has been adopting a vengeful attitude as we have been demanding that all promises made for AP be fulfilled,” the state’s Information Technology Minister N Lokesh said in a tweet.
Ten days ago, income tax officials had raided several places in Andhra Pradesh.
CM Ramesh, a Rajya Sabha lawmaker who was elected to the powerful Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of parliament in August said he had declared an income of Rs 200 crore in the last four years and promptly paid tax. “I will not be cowed down by such attacks,” he said.
The TDP broke away from the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) earlier this year over the centre’s refusal to grant special status to Andhra Pradesh. Mr Ramesh was among the lawmakers from the party who protested in parliament, escalating their demand for special category status to Andhra Pradesh.