Rejecting the BJP's allegation that he had paid money to the Congress's central leadership, Karnataka minister DK Shivakumar on Wednesday accused the BJP of misusing central agencies to harass him and pull down the Congress-JDS government in the state.
Pleading innocence, the high-profile minister said he was not involved in hawala transactions and was ready to face "any type of torture" by central agencies. He asserted he would come out clean.
DK Shivakumar's repudiation came after a BJP spokesman in Delhi demanded that the top Congress leadership respond to the purported "confessional statements" made to the Income Tax department by his alleged associates claiming the money trail in a hawala network led to the Congress headquarters.
BJP spokesman Sambit Patra also referred to diaries allegedly recovered from Congress leaders in the state claiming "entries of money running up to Rs 600 crore were shown against SG and RG among others".
Mr Patra alleged the acronyms referred to top leaders in the opposition party and demanded that Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his predecessor Sonia Gandhi come out and respond.
"He is simply using RG names, SG names. Where is RG name and SG name? I want to make it very clear that no SG or RG names are there. No way we are connected. They are unnecessarily trying to damage the name of our leaders. Let them (Enforcement Directorate) call me," he said.
Hitting out at the BJP spokesperson, DK Shivakumar sought to know why he was dragging Congress leaders into controversy.
"Unnecessarily you are bringing my party leaders (into the controversy). I have not paid any money to my party leaders, nor to the party. If anything is there, it is me and my party. They have to ask me, I have to reply to them. I need not reply to any of my BJP friends," he said.
At a press conference in Delhi, Mr Patra showed the purported confessional statements of Anjaneya Hanumanthaiah, an employee of the Karnataka Bhavan in the national capital, and claimed the documents were the proof of Congress's involvement in a Hawala network.
"We have statements of DK Shivakumar's driver, who told the I-T Department about how money in kilograms were sent to AICC. We now know why Congress party was crying during demonetisation," Patra said.
DK Shivakumar asserted,"I am ready to face any kind of consequences or any type of torture they (central agencies) want to give me. I am confident that I will come out clean because I am a law abiding citizen."
Hitting back at Mr Patra for referring to the abbreviated names in the diary, Mr Shivakumar said, "What diaries are you talking about? Did you forget the Jain diaries, Advani diaries, or Modi Sahab's diary?"
DK Shivakumar claimed he was being subjected to harassment by central agencies ever since he hosted Gujarat Congress MLAs during Rajya Sabha elections when the party leaders felt the BJP may poach on them in August last year.
Sonia Gandhi's close aide Ahmed Patel was contesting the election which he narrowly managed to win.
The Karnataka minister also linked his "harassment" to the BJP's alleged attempts to destabilise the coalition government in the state.
"These are your day dreams Mr Yeddyurappa (the state BJP chief and leader of opposition). We have the numbers," asserted DK Shivakumar, adding these "blackmailing tactics will not work".
The Enforcement Directorate has registered a money laundering case against DK Shivakumar and a few others for alleged tax evasion and hawala transactions.