Bengaluru: State chief minister HD Kumaraswamy on Saturday urged the Election Commission's interference to avoid the Income Tax department raids on contractors and businessmen who were allegedly associated with the ruling JD(S) and Congress.

In a letter to the Chief Electoral Officer, Kumaraswamy said, "As IT officials continue to raid those associated with our allies, I appeal to the poll panel to direct the tax department to stop the searches being carried under pressure from the Modi government."

Alleging that this was injustice to the JD(S) and Congress, Kumaraswamy staged a protest at the IT department office in the city on Thursday, along with deputy chief minister G Parameshwara, Siddaramaiah and Congress state unit President Dinesh Gundu Rao and their party supporters.

"The IT officials continued their raids on Friday and Saturday. They raided rice and sugar mills owned by Congress and JD(S) workers at Mandya and Mysuru till 4 am today (Saturday) and have put spy cameras in their premises. Disguising themselves as railway officials, they borrowed vehicles and have been staying at the state-run CFTRI at Mysuru."

The chief minister called the raids a "shameful attempt to threaten the ruling allies and create fear among their cadres" and urged the panel to prevent harassment.

Premises of 13 contractors, officials of the state Public Works Department and businessmen were raided in Bengaluru, Chikmagalur, Hassan, Mandya and Shivamogga in Malnad region in the state's southwest area.

Income Tax's investing wing director general BR Balakrishnan on Thursday refuted the chief minister's charge and clarified in a statement that the raids were conducted on credible evidence of tax evasion.

Lok Sabha polls in the 28 constituencies of Karnataka will be held in two phases on April 18 and 23.