Karnataka Minister DK Shivakumar was today called for questioning by the Income Tax department at its Bengaluru office for the second consecutive day in a case of alleged tax evasion. His mother, Gowramma, accompanied him to the Bengaluru headquarters on this occasion.
The Income Tax department has accused Mr Shivakumar and his associate, SK Sharma, of transferring large amounts of undeclared cash through hawala channels on a "regular basis". They have also alleged that unaccounted cash amounting to Rs 20 crore seized during raids in New Delhi and Bengaluru was "directly relatable" to him. The Congress, however, maintains that he is a victim of political vendetta.
Mr Shivakumar said that although he is ready to cooperate with the probe, the authorities could have been more considerate towards his elderly mother. "She had gone for a temple visit. We are ready to obey the law but it pains me to see my 80-year-old mother being treated in this way. We are willing to put up with these things, but dragging family members into it is not good," he added.
The Congress leader said he has full faith that the judiciary would provide him with justice at a time when he is being made a victim of political vendetta. "I was supposed to go to Dharwad for a function in my capacity as the Kannada and Culture Minister. But I had no option but to cancel my trip in the wake of this development," he added.
Mr Shivakumar made headlines in August 2017, when he agreed to accommodate 44 party legislators from Gujarat at a resort to prevent them from being poached by the ruling BJP ahead of a crucial Rajya Sabha election. Soon after, Income Tax officials came knocking on Mr Shivakumar's door.
While the Congress alleged that the Narendra Modi government was blatantly misusing central agencies to target political opponents, the Income Tax department swore that its raid had nothing to do with the lawmakers he had taken under his wing. The episode finally ended with Congress candidate Ahmed Patel keeping his seat in the upper house.
Mr Shivakumar's travails didn't. The Minister was asked to appear before Income Tax officials last July and August, and the Enforcement Directorate registered a money-laundering case against him and a few others in September. Several properties linked to the Congress leader were also raided on August 2 last year.
(With inputs from Agencies)