A court in Delhi sent Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar to judicial custody till October 1 in an alleged money laundering case on Tuesday, and directed the Enforcement Directorate to first take him to a hospital, ANI reported. If the Congress leader is not hospitalised, he should be taken to Tihar Jail, the court added.
The Enforcement Directorate told the court of Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar it was not done questioning Shivakumar, and sought permission to interrogate him in judicial custody, according to PTI. The Congress leader was arrested by the agency on September 3.
The court will hear his bail application on Wednesday, Live Law reported. Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj told the court that significant evidence was gathered from searches conducted at nine locations owned or controlled by the former Karnataka minister. Information about payments to the tune of Rs 147 crore pointed to the presence of criminal conspiracy, Nataraj claimed.
Senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who represented Shivakumar, contended that the investigating agency had no basis to put forward the transactions as the reason for seeking custody, calling them fabricated. “When I had argued on medical grounds, they pressed for police custody, and now they are coming with an excuse of delay caused by hospitalisation,” Singhvi was quoted as saying. “That is unfair”.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who is also Shivakumar’s counsel, told the court that the Congress leader did not meet the triple test criteria for bail refusal. He pointed out that the Congress leader was a seven-time MLA and a public figure who would not flee from the inquiry or tamper with evidence. Rohatgi urged the court to give Shivakumar bail as the charges under the Income Tax Act were compoundable offences that were not serious.
Meanwhile, Shivakumar also approached the Delhi High Court on Tuesday to get copies of his statements to the Enforcement Directorate, PTI reported. He submitted that the agency had no jurisdiction to invoke the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against him.
In September 2018, the Enforcement Directorate had registered the money laundering case on the basis of a chargesheet that the Income Tax Department had filed against him earlier that year in a special court in Bengaluru. He was accused of evading tax and involvement in alleged hawala transactions worth crores of rupees.
The Income Tax Department claimed 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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