Senior Karnataka Congress leader and former minister in the Kumaraswamy cabinet DK Shivakumar was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday night in New Delhi. The provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) were invoked against him. He was already being grilled by the ED since the last week for four days continuously. The ED is likely to produce him before a court on Wednesday and formally seek his custody.
The ED case against DK Shivakumar is based on the chargesheet filed by the Income Tax (I-T) department in 2018. Essentially, the I-T department raided 60 properties of Shivakumar and his associates in August 2017. It unearthed nearly Rs. 8.59 crore of cash at four of his premises in Delhi. The I-T department accused him of regularly transporting unaccounted cash through the Hawala network with the help of his four associates namely, Sachin Narayan, Sunil Kumar Sharma, Anjaneya Hanumanthaiah and N Rajendran.
While Narayan was a business partner of Shivakumar, Sharma runs a company that runs a fleet of passenger and luxury buses, apart from providing transport services to people. On the other hand, Hanumanthaiah and Rajendran worked at the Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, allegedly handling the former Karnataka minister’s unaccounted cash. These associates were booked for abetment of false returns and giving false evidence. According to the I-T department, Shivakumar was instrumental in setting up a web of persons in Delhi and Bengaluru to transport and utilize the unaccounted cash. All of them were accused of tax evasion too.
Shivakumar has won several Lok Sabha as well as Karnataka Assembly elections on a Congress ticket. He ensured the safe stay of the Congress Members of the Legislative Assembly from Gujarat in a Karnataka resort to ward off the alleged poaching attempts by the Bharatiya Janata Party at the time of the Gujarat Rajya Sabha election in 2017. This, according to him, was the reason behind the coercive action taken against him. The Karnataka High Court (HC) had just days earlier rejected the possibility of granting him pre-arrest bail. Previously, he has been accused of illegal granite mining and had notices issued to him and his family in this regard by the Karnataka HC in 2015.