At least 15 teams of the Income Tax Department conducted searches at residence and business properties owned by Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Rajya Sabha member C M Ramesh on Friday. Among the places where searches were conducted were Ramesh’s home and business premises at Jubillee Hills in Hyderabad, Amaravathi, and Kadapa. Searches were also conducted at Rithwik Projects, a company the MP owns.
The searches came three days after Ramesh, who is member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, had written to the Income Tax (I-T) Department seeking information on the basis of which I-T raids were being conducted on several people across the country.
In a statement issued on Friday, Ramesh alleged that the raids were an attempt by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intimidate TDP. “I have been targetted because I belong to the TDP. This is an attempt to intimidate everyone who is against Modi and BJP. Anyone who questions the Centre is being raided by I-T,’’ he stated.
Ramesh stated that that he has nothing to fear or hide. Rithwik Projects Private Limited, owned by the MP, is an infrastructure development and management company, which has built irrigation projects, highways, hydro and solar power projects. Ramesh, who is also official spokesperson of TDP, was reelected for a second term as member of the Upper House in April.
Alleging that this was a “classic case of political harassment”, Andhra Pradesh IT Minister TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh said, “They are targeting only TDP leaders. First Beeda Mastam Rao, next Sujana (Y S) Chowdary, and now C M Ramesh.”