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Karnataka Cong’s DK Shivakumar arrested by ED in money laundering case, ‘congratulates’ BJP

Hundreds of party cadres and supporters of Shivakumar staged angry protests and blocked the vehicular traffic on the busy Bengaluru-Mysuru state highway condemning the arrest.

SNS | New Delhi |

Congress legislator DK Shivakumar was arrested late on Tuesday night by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case.

His arrest came after his questioning by the probe agency for the fourth time. Shivakumar will be presented at a city court where the ED is expected to seek a five-day remand.

According to an ED official quoted by IANS, the Congress leader was evasive and non-cooperative with the agency on questions related to his investments, shell companies and properties. The agency has grilled Shivakumar for over 29 hours since Friday.

On several occasions, he tried to delay the interrogation by not replying to questions on links with persons in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk area to whom the bag full of cash was sent, the official said.

Shivakumar also allegedly remained evasive about the source of the money recovered from his residence in Delhi and premises in Bengaluru in 2017 by the Income Tax Department.

He was instrumental in keeping the Gujarat Congress MLAs from being poached in 2017 ahead of the Rajya Sabha election. He had arranged for their stay at a luxury resort in Karnataka.

Considered as the Congress party’s troubleshooter, he shepherded MLAs in Karnataka during the coalition government of the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Congress and held talks with the rebel MLAs.

Immediately after his arrest, the Congress leader tweeted “congratulating” the ruling BJP for “finally” succeeding in arresting him.

He further appealed to his party cadre, supporters and well-wishers to not be disheartened adding that he has full faith in the country’s judiciary.

Following his arrest, Sivakumar was taken for medical examination at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. Following his arrest, many party supporters gathered outside the ED headquarters and raised slogans against the investigating agency and the BJP-led NDA government.

While being taken for the medical test, Shivakumar told reporters, “I am not coward and I will face it. It’s a completely political case.”

The Congress has alleged political vendetta behind the action against Shivakumar.

Congress’s state in-charge KC Venugopal tweeted that arrest of DK Shivakumar was a clear case of political vendetta by the fascist government at the centre.

“After Chidambaram, yet another leader facing vengeance for standing up against the horse-trading and petty politics of BJP,” Venugopal said in a series of tweets.

Former deputy CM of Karnataka, G Parameshwara said the arrest of the Congress legislator was “absolute exploitation of power”.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) on Tuesday night suspended its route service through Ramanagara and Kanakapura towns in the state’s southern region after miscreants stoned and damaged four buses in protest against the arrest of the Congress leader.

Hundreds of party cadres and supporters of Shivakumar staged angry protests and blocked the vehicular traffic on the busy Bengaluru-Mysuru state highway and condemned the ruling BJP in the state and at the Centre for the alleged misuse of the investigation agencies against the opposition leaders.

Though Shivakumar ignored two earlier ED summons issued in January and February this year, he was forced to appear before the ED last week after the Karnataka High Court on Friday rejected his petition for interim protection from arrest by the financial probe agency.

DK Shivakumar has been on the radar of the Income Tax Department and the ED since demonetisation in 2016. An Income Tax search at his New Delhi flat on August 2, 2017, led to the seizure of unaccounted cash worth Rs 8.59 crore.

Thereafter, the Income Tax Department lodged cases against the Congress leader and his four other associates under Sections 277 and 278 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 and Sections 120(B), 193 and 199 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Based on the I-T Department chargesheet, the ED registered a money laundering case against Shivakumar.