BENGALURU — The arrest of senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar by the ED came in for condemnation from opposition leaders in Karnataka on Tuesday with former chief ministers Siddaramaiah and HD Kumaraswamy and accusing the BJP of using central agencies to “oppress voices of dissent”.
On his part, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said law will take its own course and said he would be more happy than everyone if the former minister comes clear of the charges.
Soon after the arrest of the Kanakapura MLA in New Delhi in a money laundering case, his supporters held protests at nearby Ramanagara and in Ballari.
Congress sources said the party has given a call to its district units for staging protests on Wednesday against the arrest of Shivakumar.
The Congress troubleshooter from the state was arrested under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after he appeared before the Enforcement Directorate for questioning for the fourth time on Tuesday at its headquarters in Delhi.
Condemning the action, Siddaramaiah alleged opposition leaders were being targeted using central government agencies.
“It is just an attempt to divert the attention from structural failures of @BJP4India govt & also to prevent the voices of dissent. @DKShivakumar is also a victim of their vindictive politics,” he said in a series of tweets.
Shivakumar would definitely come out clean and the whole country would understand the “ulterior motives” of the BJP, he said.
“We are all with him in this difficult times & shall provide him with full support,” the Congress legislature party leader said.
Kumaraswamy said the ED has cited non-cooperation as the reason to arrest Shivakumar after days of interrogation, without allowing even a day’s break for the (Ganesh Chaturthi) festival.
“The ruling govt is using investigation agencies to oppress those opposition leaders who they think are a threat to their interests,” he charged in a tweet.
Yediyurappa said they were not happy about Shivakumar’s arrest.
“I pray to God that he should come out from every thing. I have neither hated any one in my life, nor have I wished bad for any one. Law will take its course. If he comes out (of the charges) I will be more happy than any one,” the chief minister told reporters here.
The Karnataka unit of Congress and the Youth Congress also slammed the arrest of Shivakumar, a troubleshooter for the party and said they stood by the leader.
“Despite full cooperation in investigation D K Shivakumar is arrested by ED. This is political vendetta & High handed tactics against Congress by BJP,” the state Congress tweeted.
In a statement, the state Youth Congress said “We stand by our leader D K Shivakumar ji. Such attempts to insult and humiliate leaders only reflect the BJP’s fear of others, cowardice to admit their mistakes & incompetence in directing our country in crisis.”