A day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar in money laundering case, former party chief Rahul 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 tweeted.
The arrest of DK Shivakumar is another example of the vendetta politics unleashed by the Govt, using agencies like the ED/CBI & a pliant media to selectively target individuals.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) September 4, 2019
Meanwhile, Shivakumar, who was arrested by ED on Tuesday night, has been produced before Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar in a Delhi court on Wednesday. Seeking a 14-day custodial interrogation of the senior Congress leader, ED told the court Income Tax investigation and statement of various witnesses have revealed "incriminating evidence" against him.
The agency said Shivakumar's interrogation was necessary as some facts are in his personal knowledge and he tried to misguide the investigation. 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.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is representing Shivakumar opposed the ED's plea for custodial interrogation, saying 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.
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.
"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.