Flying squads of Election Commission seizes gold and other material from hotel rooms occupied by JDS leaders in Karnataka

An election commission squad, along with income tax and enforcement directorate sleuths, Tuesday carried out searches in two hotels at Hubballi where State minister D K Shivakumar and some Congress and JD(S) leaders were staying.

The sleuths seized from rooms in the hotels gold utensils and other materials allegedly meant for bribing voters.

The raids were carried out in connection with the by poll in Kundgol seat which fell vacant following the death of sitting MLA C S Shivalli a few months ago.

According to government sources, the squad carried out searches at the two hotels.

While the search in one hotel was wound up soon, the search in the other lasted longer, Congress party sources said.

Karnataka water resource minister D K Shivakumar (Congress) was staying at one of the hotels when the raid took place.

Speaking to PTI, the minister said, The I-T officials had carried out searches in my room as well as in rooms of other Congress cadres.”

The raids were meant to curb election-related malpractices, government sources said.

Two assembly constituencies in Karnataka Chincholi and Kundgol are going to poll on May 19 and the counting would take place simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections.

The team seized gold utensils, party caps and photographs of former MLA of Kundgol C S Shivalli, whose widow Kusumavathi is contesting the election, from a room where congress worker Shivakumar Chandrashekhar Gokavi was staying, government sources said.

Subsequently, a police complaint was lodged against Gokavi about the violation of the Model Code of Conduct, they said.

Chincholi is going for by polls as the sitting Congress MLA Dr Umesh Jadhav resigned from the assembly to join BJP and contest the Lok Sabha election from Gulbarga on BJP ticket against Congress stalwart Mallikarjun Kharge.

The BJP has given the ticket to Jadhavs son Avinash to, contest from Chincholi who would have a direct fight with Congress candidate Subhash Rathod.