Updated: September 4, 2019 10:34:23 pm
A special court in Delhi on Wednesday sent Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar to Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody till September 13 in a money laundering case associated with alleged hawala transactions. The 57-year-old leader was brought to court after undergoing a medical check-up at Ram Manohar Lohia hospital.
The former Energy, Water Resources Minister, arrested on Tuesday night, was produced before special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar. While demanding 14-day custody, ED told the court that Shivakumar was “evasive and non-cooperative” during the probe and there was phenomenal growth in his income while he was in an important position, PTI reported.
Additional Solicitor General KM Natraj and advocate N K Matta, representing the ED, said Shivakumar’s interrogation was needed to ascertain the source of money and unearth the modus operandi. “Custodial interrogation of Shivakumar is necessary as some facts are in his personal knowledge,” ED said.
Opposing the ED’s plea for custodial interrogation, Shivakumar’s lawyers Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Dayan Krishnan said the Karnataka Congress leader had joined the probe and never absconded. They that Shivakumar had not been given food today, calling it “slow torture” by ED.
While moving his bail application, Singhvi told the court that Shivakumar had already been quizzed for 33 hours and he was not a flight risk. Shivakumar’s advocates said the whole case was based upon Income Tax search from August 2017, which in turn led to an I-T complaint filed on June 13, 2018.
“This is the foundation of the entire charge against me (Shivakumar). The remand application itself says Income Tax, and this is the offence with respect to which money laundering is done,” PTI quoted Singhvi as saying.
Singhvi submitted that the Karnataka High Court had stayed the entire process arising out of the Income Tax case against Shivakumar and the offence under the I-T Act was compoundable (offences where the complainant enters into a compromise and agrees to have the charges dropped against the accused).
Shivakumar’s arrest is connected to a money laundering case registered by the ED last year after an Income Tax department investigation in 2017, where Rs 8.83 crore in unaccounted cash was found in New Delhi in locations linked to the Congress leader.
The I-T department carried out searches in August 2017 in premises linked to Shivakumar at a time when the then Congress minister sheltered 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat at a resort outside Bengaluru ahead of a crucial Rajya Sabha poll in Gujarat where Congress leader Ahmed Patel was a candidate.
After the I-T department found Rs 8.83 crore in unaccounted cash and stated in a complaint that Shivakumar was not able to account for the source of the funds, the ED registered a case under the PMLA and criminal conspiracy charges against Shivakumar and four associates.
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