Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar (File Photo)
A Delhi court on Wednesday sent Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar to 9-day ED custody in connection with a money laundering case that came to notice following an IT-Raid in 2017. Shivakumar, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday night, will be under custodial interrogation till September 13, Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar said.
Kuhar passed the order after the ED sought a 14-day custodial interrogation of Shivakumar, claiming that he was evasive and non-cooperative in the probe and there was "phenomenal growth" in his income while he was in important position. Also, it is needed to ascertain the source of unaccounted cash seized by IT-Dept in 2017 and unearth the modus operandi, the ED informed the court.
Opposing ED's plea for custodial interrogation, Shivakumar's counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the agency's submission was without "application of mind" as the Congress leader has already been quizzed for 33 hours and he was not a flight risk. Unless ED shows that something startling and new has happened, Shivakumar cannot be sent to its custody as he never absconded, Singhvi argued.
Post Kuhar's order of Shivakumar's custodial interrogation, Singhvi sought permission that the Congress leader be allowed to make appeal to his supporters, who have come in large number outside the court premises, to maintain peace. The court denied the permission and asked the investigation officer to ensure that Shivakumar does not do so. However, it allowed Shivakumar to meet his family members in the courtroom itself.
A bail application was also moved on behalf of Shivakumar and his counsels, including Krishnan, submitted that the whole case was based upon Income Tax search which started from August 2017 and the search leads to an I-T complaint filed on June 13, 2018. However, the court is yet to pronounce its order on the plea.
"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," Singhvi contended. Additional Solicitor General KM Natraj and advocate NK Matta are representing the ED in the money laundering case against Shivakumar.
The former cabinet minister and sitting MLA from Kanakapura seat had been questioned by ED for the last several days. On Tuesday, after a long session of grilling, Shivakumar was placed under arrest as per provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The ED had in September last year registered the money laundering case against Shivakumar, Haumanthaiah, an employee at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, and others. Shivakumar had to appear before the ED after Karnataka High Court last week dismissed his petition challenging the summons issued to him by the agency.
The ED had filed the PMLA case against him and others based on a charge sheet (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.
The I-T department has accused Shivakumar and his alleged associate SK Sharma of transporting huge amount of unaccounted cash on a regular basis through 'hawala' channels with the help of three other accused.