DK Shivakumar was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on September 3 after four-day grilling. (Photo Credit: PTI File Image)
The Delhi High Court granted bail to senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar in the money laundering case on Wednesday. Shivakumar was granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 25 lakh. Earlier, Justice Suresh Kait had reserved the order on October 17 on the leader's bail plea in which he claimed that the case was a result of political rivalry and there was not enough evidence against him. The ED had filed a PMLA case against Shivakumar and others based on a chargesheet (prosecution complaint) filed by the Income Tax Department against them last year before a special court in Bengaluru on charges of alleged tax evasion and hawala transactions worth crores.
A money laundering case was registered against him pursuant to an ECIR on the basis of a complaint filed by the Income Tax authorities for offences punishable under Section 276C(1), 277 and 278 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 read with Section 193, 199 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
The I-T department has accused Shivakumar and his associate SK Sharma of transporting huge amount of unaccounted cash on a regular basis through 'hawala' channels with the help of three other accused. Earlier in the morning, ahead of the bail hearing, Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi visited Tihar Jail to meet DK Shivakumar. This was not the first time that Gandhi has visited Tihar to meet a jailed Congress leader. Earlier, she met P Chidambaram, who has been jailed in the INX media case. An HT report said that Gandhi’s visits are not just for optics but also a message for the party workers. The message is loud and clear – the part top command stands by its members, no matter what. “Sonia Gandhi has backed DK Shivakumar. She has promised him all support,” DK Suresh, DK Shivakumar's brother was quoted as saying.
Sonia Gandhi’s son and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi had also backed Shivakumar. After his arrest, Rahul Gandhi had lashed at the Narendra Modi government. Gandhi hit out at the Narendra Modi-led BJP government over its vendetta politics. Gandhi said the government is using agencies like the ED, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and a pliant media to selectively target individuals. "The arrest of DK Shivakumar is another example of the vendetta politics unleashed by the Govt, using agencies like the ED/CBI and a pliant media to selectively target individuals," the Congress leader had tweeted.