The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday arrested Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar in an alleged money laundering case, reported PTI. The probe agency’s action came hours after it questioned him for the fourth day.
The Enforcement Directorate said Shivakumar was not cooperating with the investigation, reported NDTV. The investigating agency will produce the Kanakapura MLA before a court on Wednesday to seek his custody, according to PTI. Shivakumar’s supporters gathered outside the Enforcement Directorate office in Delhi to protest against his arrest.
“I congratulate my BJP friends for finally being successful in their mission of arresting me,” Shivakumar said. “The IT and ED cases against me are politically motivated and I am a victim of BJP’s politics of vengeance and vendetta.” The Congress leader also asked party workers and supporters to not be disheartened as he had done nothing illegal.
“I have full faith in God and in our country’s Judiciary and am very confident that I will emerge victorious both legally and politically against this vendetta politics,” the Congress leader tweeted.
The Congress also condemned Shivakumar’s arrest, calling it “vendetta politics”. “We strongly condemn the high-handed tactics and vendetta politics being deployed against Congress leaders,” the official Twitter handle of the party said. “The arrest of Shri DK Shivakumar is yet another attempt by the government to distract the public from their failed policies and the sorry state of the economy.” The Karnataka unit of the Congress has called a statewide protest on Wednesday, reported ANI.
The agency had first summoned Shivakumar on last Friday after the Karnataka High Court had rejected his plea challenging the notice sent to him. Shivakumar’s questioning in the case went on till late on Friday night, through Saturday and continued on Monday after a break on Sunday.
In September 2018, the Enforcement Directorate had registered a money laundering case against Shivakumar and a few other leaders under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The case was registered on the basis of a chargesheet that the Income Tax Department filed against him earlier in 2018 in a special court in Bengaluru for allegedly evading tax and for alleged hawala transactions worth crores of rupees.
In late July and early August of 2017, Shivakumar managed the stay of 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat at a resort near Bengaluru ahead of the election for a Rajya Sabha seat. The Congress had put them up at the resort to prevent them from allegedly being poached by the Bharatiya Janata Party. Shivakumar was first raided by the Income Tax Department during that time.
The Income Tax Department has filed four cases against Shivakumar based on the raids since then. Investigators are believed to have recovered more than Rs 300 crore in undisclosed income, and cash and jewellery worth nearly Rs 15 crore.
The Income Tax Department said that Shivakumar and his associate SK Sharma used to transport huge amounts of unaccounted cash on a regular basis through illegal channels with help of three other accused.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Karnataka unit of the Congress condemned the Enforcement Directorate’s actions and called it “vendetta of the worst kind”. “What happened to cases against Mukul Roy, HB Sharma & others who joined BJP,” the Karnataka Congress asked on Twitter. “Is joining BJP the criteria for ED-CBI to target people? We condemn this bias from the enforcement agencies. There is no law of land.” Several other Congress leaders also voiced their support for Shivakumar and said it was a political vendetta against him.
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