Thousands of people affiliated to Congress and various Vokkaliga organisations held a protest rally on Wednesday in Bengaluru against the arrest of Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar, The News Minute reported.
Traffic diversions are in place in the city as large crowds are expected to join the protest. The procession started from the National College Grounds and will end at Freedom Park, News9 reported. Around 5,000 civil police personnel are deployed along the protest route.
Former Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy, Congress MLA Soumya Reddy, Krishna Byre Gowda and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Dinesh Gundu Rao were among those who took part in the protest. Rao called Shivakumar’s arrest “cheap politics”.
The protestors will submit a memorandum to Governor Vajubhai Vala at Raj Bhavan, The Indian Express reported.
Ahead of the protests, it was reported that 50 platoons of Karnataka State Reserve Police, 40 of City Armed Reserve and 550 home guards will be deployed. Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao had said 11 deputy commissioners of police, 42 assistant commissioners of police, 373 sub-inspectors were also being deployed.
On Tuesday, Shivakumar appealed to his supporters to maintain peace and ensure that public property was not destroyed. “I appeal to my party cadre, supporters and well-wishers to not be disheartened as I have done nothing illegal,” he said in a tweet. “With the support and blessings that I am receiving from all of you, and my belief in god and our judiciary, I have full faith that I will emerge victorious both legally and politically.”
He also reiterated that he was a “target of vendetta politics” and that he had done nothing wrong. “I have full faith in God & in our country’s Judiciary and am very confident that I will emerge victorious both legally and politically against this vendetta politics,” Shivakumar added.
The ED also summoned Shivakumar’s daughter to appear before it on Thursday, PTI reported. Aishwarya Shivakumar, 22, is an MBA graduate and an active trustee in educational institutes held by the family. It is expected that her statement will be recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, and she would be confronted with documents and statements made by Shivakumar with regard to a trip to Singapore he made with her in 2017.
In September 2018, the Enforcement Directorate had registered a money laundering caseagainst 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.
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