The Delhi High Court on Thursday expressed anguish over non-availability of the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) law officer during hearing of the bail plea by Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar, observing that the agency cannot play “hide and seek” with the court.
Justice Suresh Kumar Kait also came down heavily on ED’s junior lawyer, who urged the court to accommodate them for 30 minutes, as the senior lawyer who was to argue the case was busy in another court.
“You cannot play hide and seek with the court…. This is not acceptable. Courts are not supposed to wait,” Justice Kait remarked.
The court subsequently reserved the order on Shivakumar’s bail plea in a money laundering case and directed the ED’s counsel to file written submissions by Saturday noon. But Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj, representing ED, appeared in court minutes after the judge passed the order and apologised for his absence.
Accepting the apology, Justice Kait agreed to hear the ED’s arguments. After the ASG concluded his submissions, the judge finally reserved his verdict.
Shivakumar’s counsels have concluded their arguments and submitted that the matter was a result of political rivalry, and that there is not enough evidence against him.
Countering this, the ED argued that Shivakumar should not be given bail, as he is a “very powerful and influential person”, and is capable of “creating, fabricating and hiding evidence”.
In its status report, the ED has said that Shivakumar has “held high offices of Minister. From his means, position and standing there is every likelihood that he would employ every means to frustrate the investigation against him. Furthermore, his mere presence at large would intimidate witnesses…. There is every likelihood of justice being thwarted if accused is released on bail.”
In his bail application, the Congress leader stated that he is a seven-time MLA and not at risk of fleeing.
The ED had arersted Shivakumar on September 3 for alleged offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.