BENGALURU, NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar was grilled by the Enforcement Directorate in New Delhi for the second day running on Saturday in connection with an alleged money-laundering case. He emerged from the central agency’s headquarters past 8 pm after a marathon round of questioning, looking visibly dazed.
Shivakumar, who reached the ED headquarters around 11 am, headed out for lunch with his brother and MP D K Suresh in the afternoon. He had spent the previous night at Suresh’s official quarters after he was quizzed for nearly five hours till late on Friday night.
The ED case is based on a chargesheet filed by the Income-Tax Department against him last year for alleged tax evasion and hawala transactions worth crores.
According to the I-T department chargesheet, Shivakumar, along with S K Sharma, has been accused of transferring unaccounted cash on a regular basis through alleged ‘hawala’ channels with the help of three others. Sources in the ED, however, declined to reveal any further details on the charges, amid allegations of a political witch hunt. The investigating officer in the case had recorded his statement on Friday under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the officials said. They have quashed rumours of his arrest saying that he is cooperating with the probe.
“No immediate arrest, but if required, we will summon him again,” ED official added. Officials added that on Saturday, he was asked to some certain documents related to money trail that was being produced during the probe.“I don’t know why they have called me under (PMLA.. I am ready to face them (ED),” Shivakumar told reporters outside the ED office.
Meanwhile, groups of Shivakumar’s supporters held protests at many places on Saturday, right from his hometown Kanakapura and other towns like Ramanagara and Kunigal, represented in Parliament by his brother Suresh. Protests were also held in Shivamogga, Raichur, Ballari and Yadgir with supporters raising slogans that Shivakumar was being targeted for helping Ahmed Patel. They also expressed apprehension that he “may be arrested like P Chidambaram”.
Shivakumar’s mother Gowramma was glued to the TV most of the day for updates about her son. In many places, small groups of supporters offered prayers for Shivakumar’s safety on Friday and Saturday. Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee working president Eshwar Khandre said, “This is nothing but an effort to throttle the voice of the opposition. It is by now an established practice that they first open cases and put pressure on leaders to join BJP. They have done it with so many leaders.’’
Former Bellary MP V S Ugrappa, who visited Hosapete and Koppal, told Congressmen that this was “vindictive politics.’’ “The ED and CBI are being used against Congress and other opposition parties. Shivakumar is being targeted because he is a loyal party leader. While they are going soft on cases against BJP leaders, they are targeting everyone in the opposition,” he remarked.