- DK Shivakumar was arrested by Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday evening
- The Congress has been holding protests in Karnataka
- The probe agency had filed a money laundering case naming him last year
The Congress's key troubleshooter in Karnataka, DK Shivakumar, was sent into the custody of the Enforcement Directorate till September 13. Though the agency had asked for 14 days' custody, the court allowed only 10 days. His family and lawyers will be allowed to meet him every day for half-an-hour, the court said.
The Enforcement Directorate had arrested Mr Shivakumar last evening, claiming he was not cooperating in the investigation a money laundering case. Countering the agency's demand, Mr Shivakumar argued that not confessing to a crime does not amount to non-cooperation.
"Because the accused did not confess, can that be called non-cooperation? Where is the personal liberty here?" said Mr Shivakumar's party colleague and senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is also representing former Union minister P Chidambaram. Mr Chidambaram was arrested around a fortnight ago on a similar accusation by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
"His statement was recorded for the last four days. He joined the Investigation, but ED says he was not cooperating... ED says he didn't reveal the truth... what is the truth here? Truth according to the accused or to the agency? If truth as wanted by agency is taken into account, everyone will get arrested here," Mr Singhvi told the court.
The Congress has been holding protests in Karnataka and elsewhere in the country over the arrest. The party has said the arrest was "vendetta politics" by the centre and an attempt "to distract the public from their failed policies & the sorry state of the economy".
Party leader Rahul Gandhi today tweeted:
The arrest of DK Shivakumar is another example of the vendetta politics unleashed by the Govt, using agencies like the ED/CBI & a pliant media to selectively target individuals.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) September 4, 2019
Mr Shivakumar was arrested after four days of questioning by the agency for which he had flew down to Delhi on Friday. Today he has been produced before Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar.
The senior leader -- minister in the erstwhile Congress government headed by Siddaramaiah and a minister in the coalition government led by HD Kumaraswamy -- was summoned after the Karnataka High Court decided against the dismissal of the case and did not give him protection from arrest.
The Enforcement Directorate had filed a Money laundering case last year naming him and others after the Income Tax Department raided 60 properties against them last year and claimed to have found more than Rs. 300 crore in "undisclosed income". A chargesheet was filed, alleging tax evasion and hawala transactions worth crores.
Mr Shivakumar and his alleged associate S K Sharma have been accused of transporting huge amount of unaccounted cash on a regular basis through ''hawala'' channels with the help of three other accused.