After being grilled by the Enforcement Directorate for four days, Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar was arrested by the agency on Tuesday in an alleged money laundering case. The Congress strongman was arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for not cooperating in the investigation after he appeared before the agency on Tuesday, reports said.
The Congress leader needs to be put through custodial interrogation and hence was arrested, PTI quoted officials as saying. The ED will produce Shivakumar before a court in New Delhi on Wednesday to seek his custody.
In his first reaction following the arrest, Shivakumar alleged vendetta politics and "congratulated" the BJP for "finally being successful in their mission of arresting me". He also appealed to his partymen and well-wishers not to be disheartened and asserted that he had done nothing illegal.
I appeal to my party cadre, supporters and well-wishers to not be disheartened as I have done nothing illegal.
I have full faith in God & in our country's Judiciary and am very confident that I will emerge victorious both legally and politically against this vendetta politics.
— DK Shivakumar (@DKShivakumar) September 3, 2019
Shivakumar's supporters, who gathered in large numbers outside the ED office in Delhi, raised slogans and tried to prevent probe officials from taking him for a procedural medical check-up after his arrest.
Delhi: Ruckus outside the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office as supporters of Congress leader DK Shivakumar gather in large numbers. He has been arrested by the agency, under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). pic.twitter.com/v7Kg7dm2IG — ANI (@ANI) September 3, 2019
Congress communications in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala claimed that the BJP-led government was arresting Opposition politicians to distract the attention from the poor GDP growth. "There is economic emergency prevailing in this country. To put a lid over this and draw attention of the country away from their own misdeeds, the BJP government is taking false actions against Congress leaders. The illegal arrest of Shivakumar is one more such instance. Shivakumar is innocent. There's not an iota of evidence against him," he told ANI. Karnataka Congress vowed to fight Shivakumar's arrest "legally and politically", while its women's wing said the arrest showed the "desperation" of BJP chief Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Despite full cooperation in investigation @DKShivakumar is arrested by ED. This is political vendetta & High handed tactics against @INCIndia by @BJP4India Congress stands firmly with DKS & will fight this legally & politically. — Karnataka Congress (@INCKarnataka) September 3, 2019
The arrest of @DKShivakumar shows the desperation of Shah & Modi.
When he has been cooperating with the investigation for the last four days why arrest him now ?
Vendetta politics by the BJP.
All of us in the Congress party stand by #DKShivkumar
— Karnataka Pradesh Mahila Congress (@KarnatakaPMC) September 3, 2019
Shivakumar was questioned by ED officials for over four hours on Friday last week and about eight hours on Saturday as part of the probe into the case.
While making his first appearance on 30 August, the MLA from the Kanakapura Assembly seat had said he would cooperate with the ED in the probe.
"It is my duty (to appear)... I have to respect the law. We are lawmakers and law-abiding citizens. They (ED) have summoned me... I don't know why they have called me under PMLA. But, let me see, hear them. I am ready to face them (ED)," he had told reporters outside the ED office.
Shivakumar had to appear before the agency after the Karnataka High Court on 29 August dismissed his petition challenging the summons issued to him by the ED.
Shivakumar had denied any wrongdoing and had said that his playing an "instrumental role" in ensuring the safe stay of Gujarat Congress MLAs in a Karnataka resort during the Rajya Sabha polls in 2017, amid allegations that the BJP was trying to poach them, was the reason for the Income Tax searches and subsequent ED action against him.
The central agency had in September 2018 registered a money laundering case against Shivakumar, Anjaneya Haumanthaiah, an employee at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, and others.
The ED case has been filed based on a charge sheet (prosecution complaint) filed by the Income Tax Department against him in 2018 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 associate SK Sharma of transporting huge amount of unaccounted cash on a regular basis through 'hawala' channels with the help of three other accused.
With inputs from agenciesED
Updated Date: Sep 03, 2019 22:22:17 IST