Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar has been arrested by Enforcement Directorate (ED) under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after grilling him for the fifth consecutive day in Delhi.
Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar has been arrested by Enforcement Directorate (ED) under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after grilling him for the fifth consecutive day in Delhi. The former cabinet minister in the HD Kumaraswamy government and sitting MLA from Kanakapura seat appeared before the central agency for the fourth time for questioning on Tuesday.
After his arrest, the Congress leader tweeted, “I congratulate my BJP friends for finally being successful in their mission of arresting me. The IT & ED cases against me are politically motivated & I’m a victim of BJP’s politics of vengeance & vendetta.’ He has been arrested by ED under PMLA.”
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His arrest came as a blow for his followers as many of them reached ED office in New Delhi in protest. His supporters created a ruckus as they gathered in a large number outside the agency office. One of his supporters tore off his clothes outside RML Hospital where the leader was taken for medical tests.
Shivakumar came under the ED scanner in September last year when the ED registered money laundering case against Shivakumar, Haumanthaiah, an employee at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, and others based on a charge sheet (prosecution complaint) filed by the Income Tax Department for alleged tax evasion and hawala transactions worth crores.
The ED officials explained that the Congress leader was required to be put through custodial interrogation and hence was arrested. Shivakumar will be produced before a Delhi court on Wednesday by the Enforcement Directorate for seeking his custody.
Shivakumar has acted as a crisis manager for the Congress party. When Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel fought the Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat in 2017, Shivakumar had hosted 44 Gujarat Congress MLAs at the resort to keep the flock together.
During the recent political crisis in Karnataka too, Shivakumar tried to wean away the dissidents and woo them back to the Congress fold. But the Congress-JDS government fell and B S Yediyurappa went on become the chief minister, heading a BJP government.
Even as ED continued to probe Shivakumar, his party cried foul saying their colleague was a victim of vendetta politics, a charge rejected by the BJP leaders.
Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao accused the BJP of using investigating agencies to “vindictively targeting” opposition leaders and said the party stood with Shivakumar while former MP, VS Ugrappa called it witch-hunting and took exception to the leader being summoned on Ganesha Chaturthi day for questioning.
“Vindictively targeting opposition leaders, using agencies to harass and humiliate them is a specific agenda of BJP. D K Shivakumar has been bearing the brunt since two years. We are with him in this fight against an authoritarian regime,” Rao tweeted.
Senior BJP leader and state Minister for Large and Medium Scale Industries Jagadish Shettar rejected the Congress charge and said the institutions were doing their duty and if someone felt being victimised, he cannot help it.