Senior Karnataka minister D K Shivakumar was Thursday grilled for about three hours by the Income Tax department for alleged tax evasion, officials said.
Shivakumar, a frontline Congress leader in the state, was summoned for questioning as part of a “routine process” following searches at various properties linked to him on August 2, department sources said.
The minister had already appeared before I-T officials twice in July and August last year.
The searches were conducted after Shivakumar hosted 44 Gujarat Congress MLAs at a resort on the city outskirts to forestall alleged attempts by the BJP to poach them ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls which the then Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel won.
Last September, the Enforcement Directorate had registered a money laundering case against him and a few others for allegedly indulging in hawala transactions.
The I-T department had accused Shivakumar and his associate SK Sharma of transporting “huge” amounts of unaccounted cash on a “regular basis” through hawala channels with the help of three other accused.
The other accused are Sachin Narayan, Anjaneya Hanumanthaiah and N Rajendra.
Narayan is a business partner of Shivakumar and Sharma is the proprietor of Sharma Transports, which runs a fleet of luxury and passenger buses and provides transport services to various concerns and individuals on rental basis, IT department had said in its complaint.
Hanumanthaiah, an employee posted at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, was allegedly responsible for storing and handling unaccounted cash of Shivakumar in the national capital, it had said.
Rajendra, a caretaker at Karnataka Bhavan, also works for Sharma, apart from looking after the immovable properties
of Shivakumar and Sharma, it said.
Unaccounted cash of about Rs 20 crore was seized during raids in New Delhi and Bengaluru last August, and I-T officials said the money was “directly relatable” to
Shivakumar, however, claimed the I-T department was targeting him and not letting him “breathe”, but asserted he would fight the case legally.
A special court had granted him conditional bail in this case some time back and will hear the matter again on September 20.