The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday carried out searches at the Bengaluru residence of Congress leader D K Shivakumar after booking him in a case of disproportionate assets. The CBI also searched premises linked to relatives and associates of Shivakumar at 13 other locations in Bengaluru, Delhi, and Mumbai.
“CBI has registered a case against former Minister of Karnataka Government(Presently MLA) on the allegations of possession of disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs.74.93 crore(approx) in his name and in the name of his family members. Searches were conducted today at 14 locations including nine in Karnataka, four in Delhi and one in Mumbai,” CBI spokesperson RK Gaur said. Sources said the raids have resulted in seizure of Rs 57 lakh in cash and several incriminating documents including property papers and bank related documents apart from electronic evidence.
Premises of Shivakumar’s brother D K Suresh, and his close associate Sachin Narayan, are among those searched. Suresh is the Lok Sabha MP from Bengaluru Rural. Narayan, a businessman with interests in real estate and hotels, had been booked earlier along with Shivakumar by the Income-Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Sources said CBI registered the disproportionate assets case based on a reference from ED, which had opened a money laundering investigation against Shivakumar in September 2018 based on tax evasion findings by the I-T Department.
CBI claimed the Karnataka government had given a go ahead for probe against Shivakumar early this year following which the agency had registered a preliminary enquiry in March. On completion of the PE an FIR has been registered.
The Congress said the CBI action was part of the “Raid Raj” of the BJP governments in Bengaluru and New Delhi.
CBI should be unearthing the layers of corruption in Yeddyurappa Govt.
But, ‘Raid Raj’ is their only ‘Machiavellian Move’ !
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) October 5, 2020
“The insidious game of intimidation & machinations of Modi-Yeddyurappa duo being executed by a puppet CBI by raiding @DKShivakumar won’t deter us. CBI should be unearthing the layers of corruption in Yeddyurappa Govt. But, ‘Raid Raj’is their only ‘Machiavellian Move’!” spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a tweet.
Karnataka’s former Congress Chief Minister Siddaramaiah too tweeted in Shivakumar’s support, and alleged that the searches were intended to disrupt Congress preparations for the upcoming byelections. Shivakumar, who is now president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, was a minister in the governments of both Siddaramaiah and H D Kumaraswamy.
“@BJP4India has always tried to indulge in vindictive politics & mislead public attention. The latest CBI raid on @KPCCPresident @DKShivakumar’s house is another attempt to derail our preparation for bypolls. I strongly condemn this,” Siddaramaiah posted on Twitter.
ED had arrested Shivakumar on September 3 last year. Sources said investigations had found that a major part of his over Rs 800 crore wealth had been accumulated at the time he was Karnataka’s minister for urban development (between 1999 and 2004 in the S M Krishna government) and power (from 2014-18 when Siddaramaiah was CM). Shivakumar is on bail in the ED case.
.@BJP4India has always tried to indulge in vindictive politics & mislead public attention.
I strongly condemn this.
— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) October 5, 2020
According to these sources, ED had found that multiple companies, some of which were owned directly by Shivakumar, entered into agreements with firms that were granted projects by the state urban development ministry between 1999 and 2004.
Again, the sources said, ED found that Shivakumar’s wealth grew exponentially during 2014-18. The agency looked at several government projects during this period, and put under the scanner the firms that were engaged in implementing them.
In his election affidavit in 2004, Shivakumar had declared a wealth of Rs 7 crore. This grew to more than Rs 800 crore in 2018. In fact, between 2013 and 2018, Shivakumar’s wealth grew by over Rs 600 crore.
Shivakumar’s lawyer Parmatma Singh has denied the allegations. “Except one or two properties, none of the properties mentioned in his election affidavit were bought during the periods when he was a state minister. This is only political propaganda,” he had told The Indian Express earlier.
According to Singh, “For a money laundering offence you need to have a scheduled offence. This case has started with an Income-Tax raid. Sections invoked are all of Income-Tax. Section 120 B of IPC was invoked and this has attracted PMLA. So there is no substantive offence under PMLA. They are basically trying to create a disproportionate assets case. That never culls out of their own case. There is no charge of abuse of official position.”
Shivakumar has repeatedly argued that all his wealth is declared and he has paid taxes due on the same, and so has no ill-gotten wealth to hide. He has always denied any wrongdoing and claimed that he was being targetted for having played an instrumental role in keeping the Congress flock together during the Rajya Sabha polls in 2017.
Shivakumar had arranged the stay of 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat in a Karnataka resort when senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel was contesting to secure a Rajya Sabha seat. Following this, I-T searches were conducted against him, and ED subsequently took action.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines