Senior Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar arrested by ED, officials said on Tuesday night.
The ED grilled Shivakumar for the fifth day in Delhi in a money laundering case. His party leaders in Karnataka cried foul saying their colleague was a victim of vendetta politics, a charge rejected by the BJP leaders.
State Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao accused the BJP of using investigating agencies to “vindictively targeting” opposition leaders and said the party stood with Shivakumar while former MP, VS Ugrappa called it witch-hunting and took exception to the leader being summoned on Ganesha Chaturthi day for questioning.
“Vindictively targeting opposition leaders, using agencies to harass and humiliate them is a specific agenda of BJP. D K Shivakumar has been bearing the brunt since two years. We are with him in this fight against an authoritarian regime,” Rao tweeted.
Senior BJP leader and state Minister for Large and Medium Scale Industries Jagadish Shettar rejected the Congress charge, saying the institutions were doing their duty and if someone felt being victimised, he cannot help it.
Revenue Minister R Ashoka too junked the allegations of vindictive politics.
“Whether be it ED, CBI or any other agency, they are all independent. BJP never does such politics because we don’t need to do so. Whatever is going on is as per the law,” said Ashoka.
Former chief ministers HD Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah among others have condemned the action against Shivakumar, calling it vindictive.
Congress leaders on Tuesday slammed a section of BJP leaders who backed the action by the ED against Shivakumar.
BJP jealous of Shivakumar’s growth, says his mother
Shivakumar’s mother Gowramma had on Monday accused the BJP of being jealous about the growth of her son as the Enforcement Directorate grilled him in connection with the alleged money laundering case.
“They (BJP) lack empathy. The BJP and nobody else, is doing it (to Shivakumar). They are jealous that he is growing (politically) but we can’t help it,” Gowramma told reporters at her ancestral village in Kanakapura.
A teary-eyed Gowramma claimed that they did not become wealthy overnight but had been rich from ages.
“They are charging that we have so much of wealth. We are not overnight rich. My father-in-law Kempe Gowda was a big name in the village...,” she recalled.
Gowramma also recollected that her house was raided when Shivakumar was only seven or eight years and they came out clean.
“We have neither killed anyone nor stolen anything or cheated anybody.. We have toiled hard to make this wealth. Some people could not tolerate it,” she said.
The family, she said, was anguished as for the first time Shivakumar and his brother D K Suresh, MP, were not at home for Ganesha festival.
While Shivakumar was questioned by the ED, Suresh was with him.
Every year on Ganesha Chaturthi, the family paid homage to Kempe Gowda.
Shivakumar had on Saturday said he had requested the ED to dispense with his appearance on Monday in view of the festival, saying according to his family traditions, they offer prayers to ancestors.
However, the ED refused to allow his plea, which was condemned by former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy.
The case against Shivakumar
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.
It was based on a charge sheet (prosecution complaint) filed by the Income-Tax Department against Shivakumar 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 associate S K Sharma of transporting huge amount of unaccounted cash on a regular basis through ‘hawala’ channels with help of three other accused. PTI GMS ROH