Karnataka Congress on Monday termed the grilling of legislator DK Shivakumar by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering case, as “vendetta of the worst kind”.

Former Karnataka minister and senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar on Monday appeared before the probe agency for questioning for the third time in an alleged money laundering case.

The ED had questioned the Congress leader for over 13 hours on Friday and Saturday in connection with a case in which he is accused of being involved in ‘hawala’ transactions in violation of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.

The agency questioned Shivakumar about his properties, bags full of cash that he sent through his aides to Chandni Chowk, his relations with a travel company proprietor, and his investments in several other domains.

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.

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.

Reacting on the development, the state Congress condemned the “bias by the enforcement agencies in targeting people”.

“Is joining BJP the criteria for ED-CBI to target people?” the party questioned.

KPCC President Dinesh Gundu Rao alleged that the BJP was vindictively targeting opposition leaders, using agencies to harass and humiliate them.

The Congress’s state in-charge KC Venugopal tweeted that the BJP government has made CBI and ED as political vendetta agencies to carry out harassment against DK Shivakumar on a daily basis.

Earlier, former Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy too had tweeted that the agency officials were showcasing a vindictive attitude towards Shivakumar.

Meanwhile, Shivakumar himself has accused Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa of indulging in vindictive politics by targeting him and other state Opposition leaders.

Shivakumar has been housed at the Karnataka Bhavan in Delhi.