DK Shivakumar to be in ED custody till Sept 13

Shivakumar to be produced in Delhi court today; protests erupts in Karnataka
The ED is likely to demand D K Shivakumar's custody to quiz him regarding money laundering charges he faces.

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Wednesday sent Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody for 10 days, a day after the financial probe agency arrested him on money laundering charges.

He would be presented before the court again on September 13.

The ED had sought 14-day custodial interrogation of Shivakumar, arrested on Tuesday night, claiming that he was evasive and non-cooperative in the probe and there was "phenomenal growth" in his income while he was in important position.

Opposing ED's contentions, Shivakumar's counsel said that the Congress leader has already been quizzed for 33 hours by the agency and he is not a flight risk.

The ED had in September last year registered the money laundering case against Shivakumar, Haumanthaiah, an employee at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, and others.

Protests, roadblocks across Karnataka as Shivakumar set for court appearance
Over 10 buses were torched and stones were pelted at Satanur on Tuesday night, following which the state police has asked the KSRTC to not operate buses in Ramanagara until clearance is provided.

Violent protests

Several incidents of violence were reported from across Karnataka following Tuesday's arrest of senior Congress leader D K Shivakumar by the ED. Schools and colleges in many districts of the southern state were shut as a precautionary measure after the Karnataka unit of Congress called for a state-wide bandh on Wednesday to protest against his arrest.

The general strike affect traffic on the the Bengaluru-Mysore highway. Congress supporters blocked this highway and four buses of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) were stoned.

Over 10 buses were torched and stones were pelted at Satanur on Tuesday night, following which the state police has asked the KSRTC to not operate buses in Ramanagara until clearance is provided.

To thwart untoward incidents, the KSRTC buses have re-routed in the wake of ugly protests. The Mysore-Bengaluru services have been restricted and are operating via Magadi, Huliyurudurga. The state police has stopped public buses at Bidadi.

The police has also issued an advisory for commuters about road block and deviation information, which mentions that the Bengaluru-Ramanagaram-Mysuru road has been blocked due to protests at the Ijoor Circle in Ramanagara.

Security has been beefed up near Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's residence and around the BJP offices in Congress' strongholds.

Protests erupted across Karnataka on Tuesday itself soon after Shivakumar's arrest was reported. Violence was reported from a few places in Bengaluru Rural and Ramanagaram districts, which are reportedly Shivakumar's strongholds.

'Congrats BJP'

Soon after his arrest, tweets put out from Shivakumar' handle termed the cases against him as politically motivated as they took a dig at "BJP friends" for being "successful in their mission of arresting" him.

"I appeal to my party cadre, supporters and well-wishers to not be disheartened as I have done nothing illegal. I have full faith in God & in our country's Judiciary and am very confident that I will emerge victorious both legally and politically against this vendetta politics.

"I congratulate my BJP friends for finally being successful in their mission of arresting me. The IT and ED cases against me are politically motivated and I am a victim of BJP's politics of vengeance and vendetta," the tweets said.

His supporters, who had gathered outside the ED office, raised slogans and tried to prevent probe officials from taking him for a procedural medical check-up after his arrest.

The case history

The central agency had in September last year registered the money laundering case against Shivakumar; Haumanthaiah, an employee at the Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi; and others.

The Karnataka Congressman had denied any wrongdoing and had said he was being targeted for playing 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.

When Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel fought the Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat in 2017, Shivakumar had hosted 44 Gujarat Congress MLAs at the resort to keep the flock together.

During the recent political crisis in Karnataka too, Shivakumar had reportedly tried to wean away the dissidents and woo them back to the Congress fold. But the Congress-JD(S) government fell and B S Yediyurappa went on become the chief minister, heading a BJP government.

While making his first appearance before the agency here on August 30, Shivakumar had said that he would cooperate with the ED in the probe.'

Support from colleagues

Congress party leaders in Karnataka on Tuesday cried foul saying their colleague was a victim of vendetta politics, a charge rejected by the BJP leaders.

State Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao accused the BJP of using investigating agencies to "vindictively targeting" opposition leaders and said the party stood by Shivakumar, while former party MP V S Ugrappa called it witch hunting and took exception to the leader being summoned on Ganesha Chaturthi day for questioning.

Shivakumar had to appear before the agency after the Karnataka High Court last week dismissed his petition challenging the summons issued to him by the ED.

The ED had filed a PMLA case against him and others based on a charge sheet (prosecution complaint) filed by the Income Tax Department against them last year before a special court in Bengaluru on charges of alleged tax evasion and hawala transactions worth crores.

The I-T department has accused Shivakumar and his associate S K Sharma of transporting huge amount of unaccounted cash on a regular basis through 'hawala' channels with the help of three other accused.

(With inputs from PTI and IANS)