BENGALURU: Karnataka Water Resources and Medical Education Minister D K Shivakumar has been accused of developing a network to operate money through hawala and purchasing a flat in the national capital to stock unaccounted for cash. The Income Tax Department, in its complaint before the Special Court for Economic Offences, has also made a startling statement that cash was sent to All India Congress Committee (AICC).
Based on the complaint, the court has summoned the minister and other four accused to appear before it on August 2. The materials seized disclosed that cash of — `5 crore, `3 crore and `2 crore each — was handed over to one Mulgund to pay to AICC, the department stated in its complaint.
The central agency accused the minister of using services of Sunil Kumar Sharma, proprietor of Sharma Transport; Anjaneya Hanumanthaiah, Liaison Officer in Karnataka Bhavan; Rajendra N, employee of Sharma Transport; and Sachin Narayana, a business associate among others for transporting the cash.
According to the complaint filed before the court, a copy of which is available with The New Indian Express, at a flat in Safdarjung Enclave in New Delhi, `6.68 crore was seized by I-T during a search on August 2, 2017. One of the accused, Anjaneya Hanumanthaiah, has stated before the I-T that the flat belongs to late Suresh Kumar, proprietor of Sharma Transport and brother of accused Sunil Kumar Sharma. It has been used by Sharma and Shivakumar to store money for many years now, he stated.
“Shivakumar set up an exclusive network of persons and premises across Delhi and Bengaluru in order to transport and utilise unaccounted cash. It is pertinent to note that unaccounted cash of `8.5 crore has been found and seized in four premises of Delhi which are directly relatable to DKS. Three flats were purchased in Safdarjung Enclave. Among these flats, Flat No.107, B-2, purchased by DKS, and Flat No.17, B-4, was purchased by Sachin Narayan (Accused No.2) and Flat No.201, B-5, was purchased by late Suresh Sharma,” the Deputy Director of Income-Tax (Investigation), Income Tax Department, stated in the complaint.
Conspiracy hatched to evade tax, says I-T department
According to the department, the objective of purchasing these flats were two fold — one was to entertain the guests of DKS and the other was to store unaccounted cash generated by him. Therefore, the cash generated by DKS in Bengaluru and other places used to be transported by Sunil Kumar Sharma, stored in the flat and then distributed to various sources as directed by DKS, according to their statement. The entire conspiracy was hatched by DKS, Sachin Narayan and Sharma at Bengaluru for the purposes of evading tax, stated the I-T department.
Both late Suresh Sharma and Sunil Kumar Sharma were the owners of Sharma Transport. Shivakumar and Sunil were allegedly issuing low-denomination currency notes regularly against the names of some persons, which shows that all the accused were engaged in transporting huge amount of unaccounted cash on regular basis through hawala channels, the complaint stated. The complaint also stated that Shivakumar held unaccounted cash for Assessment Year 2018-19 of `8.54 crore. The conduct and clandestine manner through which Shivakumar engaged in unaccounted cash transactions shows that if the I-T had not conducted the search, he would have not disclosed all these transactions and offered the cash seized for taxation, thereby he would have been successful in evading the tax, the complaint alleged.
DKS denied allegations
In response to the showcause notice dated March 16, 2018 by I-T, Shivakumar claimed that the premises from which the cash has been seized does not belong to him and that the seized material relied upon is not in his own handwriting. “The issues raised by DKS in his response such as political motivation and hastiness do not have any basis and he has been given sufficient time of more than 50 days to respond to the show-cause notice”, I-T department officials stated.
Code words & hawala link
Sunil Kumar Sharma and one Pankaj used code word ‘KG’ for ‘lakh’, according to Rajendra N. But Sharma stated that ‘KG’ does not mean rupees in ‘lakh’ and is only related to cargo deliveries. Ten rupee note was commonly used as a unique code between hawala operators and used in Sharma’s WhatsApp chat.