The Enforcement Directorate on Monday recorded the statement of Karnataka Congress president D K Shivakumar for about six hours in connection with a second money laundering case being probed against him.
The 60-year-old Congress leader said the agency asked him about payments made by him and his brother to Young Indian, the owner company of Congress promoted newspaper National Herald.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her MP son Rahul Gandhi, apart from some other Congress leaders, have been questioned by the ED over the last few months in the National Herald money laundering case.
Mr Shivakumar reached the federal agency’s office at A P J Abdul Kalam Road in central Delhi around 12 noon and was seen entering the office after getting a pass made from the front office.
Mr Shivakumar, who was accompanied by a group of about four people, stepped out for lunch during lunch break and re-joined the session. He left after about six hours of questioning. While exiting the ED office in evening, he told the media that he has been charge-sheeted by the agency in one money laundering case but he does not know what is the money laundering in this case that is allegedly linked to a disproportionate assets case, first investigated by the CBI.
“Surprisingly, they (ED officials) have asked me about the payment from one of my trust, from me and my brother, to Young Indian,” he told reporters.
He said he sought more time from the agency to furnish details about his assets and liabilities to them. The former Karnataka minister said he believed in the “law system” and knew that he will get justice.
“I have faith in the judicial system of India. One day I will be proven innocent of all charges. The political vendetta and harassment against me is the price I am paying for speaking up for the people of Karnataka, for speaking about issues such as unemployment and price rise,” he later tweeted.
The agency had issued him summons last week in the second money laundering case after taking cognisance of a 2020 CBI case linked to the alleged possession of disproportionate assets.
The CBI case was filed against Mr Shivakumar and his family members on the allegations of possession of disproportionate assets worth Rs 74.93 crore.
The Congress leader, after receiving the latest ED summons, had said he was not aware of the case for which he had been asked to appear before the agency.
“In the midst of the #BharatJodoYatra and the Assembly session, they have again issued me an ED summons to appear. I am ready to cooperate but the timing of this summon and the harassment I am put through, is coming in the way of discharging my constitutional and political duties,” Mr Shivakumar tweeted on September 15.
On September 3, 2019, the ED had arrested Mr Shivakumar in another money laundering case and the Delhi High Court granted him bail in October that year.
In May this year, the agency filed a charge sheet against him and some others linked to him in the case. It was registered after taking cognisance of a charge sheet (prosecution complaint) filed by the Income Tax Department against them in 2018 before a special court in Bengaluru on charges of alleged tax evasion and hawala transactions worth crores of rupees.
The I-T department has accused Mr Shivakumar and his alleged associates of transporting huge amounts of unaccounted cash on a regular basis through ‘hawala’ channels with the help of three other accused.
The former Karnataka cabinet minister played an instrumental role in ensuring the safe stay of Gujarat Congress MLAs in a Karnataka resort during the Rajya Sabha polls in 2017 amid allegations that the BJP was trying to poach them.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary, the late Ahmed Patel, had fought the Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat in 2017 and Shivakumar had hosted 44 Gujarat Congress MLAs at the resort to keep the flock together.
The ED had questioned his daughter Aishwarya too in the case after she was summoned to appear in Delhi.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)