Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar on Sunday criticised investigative agencies for issuing a notice to him for gifting phones to MPs, PTI reported. He was granted bail by the Delhi High Court in an alleged money laundering case on October 23.

The leader was in judicial custody for 50 days following his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate on September 3. The former minister was given a rousing welcome by party workers after his arrival in Bengaluru on Saturday evening.

At a press conference on Sunday, Shivakumar said: “As irrigation minister I had to deal with certain issues. Some people asked me to give them some latest phones, which I gave. Immediately I received a notice from the IT department. Following the notice, I showed expenditure from personal account, not from any other.”

He said that besides three people, everybody had accepted the gifted phones. “All those who gave statements [against me] have received phones from me,” Shivakumar said. “The notice should also be served to them, isn’t it? Shouldn’t notice be served on all those who received gifts above Rs 50,000? But I don’t want to raise that issue,” he said.

The Congress party’s troubleshooter claimed he was being closely monitored by probe agencies. “This is only an example how I was tortured,” he alleged. “It has been going on for the past one year. I will bring these facts up in some forum. I will have to bring it to the knowledge of people, but at an appropriate time.”

Shivakumar added that he should be punished if he had committed any wrong, and was ready to face all the allegations against him.

Many leaders, including Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, called on Shivakumar at Tihar Jail in Delhi. The Congress has maintained that Shivakumar has been targeted by the agencies as a part of a witch hunt by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government.

In 2018, a money laundering case was registered against Shivakumar on the basis of an Enforcement Case Information Report after a complaint was filed by the Income Tax department. The Congress leader is accused of evading tax and being involved in alleged hawala transactions worth crores of rupees.

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