| New Delhi |
Updated: October 5, 2020 4:31:02 pm
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday carried out searches at the Bengaluru residence of Congress leader DK Shivakumar after booking the former state minister in a case of disproportionate assets. The agency also carried out searches at 13 other locations spread across Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai on premises associated with Shivakumar’s relatives and associates.
“CBI has registered a case against then minister of Karnataka government and others on the allegations of acquisition of disproportionate assets. Searches are being conducted today at 14 locations including nine in Karnataka, four in Delhi and one in Mumbai,” CBI spokesperson RK Gaur said.
Sources said the raids have already resulted in the seizure of Rs 50 lakh in cash and several incriminating documents. Among the premises being searched, sources said, are that of Shivakumar’s brother DK Suresh and his close associate Sachin Narayan. While Suresh is a Lok Sabha MP from Bengaluru rural, Narayan is a businessman with interests in real estate and hotel industry. Narayan had earlier been booked along with Shivakumar by both the Income Tax Department and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Sources said it was based on a reference from ED that CBI registered a case of disproportionate assets against Shivakumar. ED had initiated its money laundering probe against the Congress leader in September 2018, based on tax evasion findings of the Income Tax department.
Congress reacted to the development by calling it “Raid Raj” and a “game of intimidation”.
“The insidious game of intimidation & machinations of Modi-Yeddyurappa duo being executed by a puppet CBI by raiding @DKShivakumar won’t deter us. CBI should be unearthing the layers of corruption in Yeddyurappa Govt. But, ‘Raid Raj’is their only ‘Machiavellian Move’!”Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a tweet.
The insidious game of intimidation & machinations of Modi-Yeddyurappa duo being executed by a puppet CBI by raiding @DKShivakumar won’t deter us.
CBI should be unearthing the layers of corruption in Yeddyurappa Govt.
But, ‘Raid Raj’ is their only ‘Machiavellian Move’ !
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) October 5, 2020
Former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah too tweeted in support of Shivakumar, who currently holds the post of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief. Siddaramaiah suggested that the raids were an attempt to disrupt Congress preparations for upcoming by-polls in the state.
“@BJP4India has always tried to indulge in vindictive politics & mislead public attention. The latest CBI raid on @KPCCPresident @DKShivakumar’s house is another attempt to derail our preparation for by-polls. I strongly condemn this,” Siddaramaiah said in a tweet.
.@BJP4India has always tried to indulge in vindictive politics & mislead public attention.
I strongly condemn this.
— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) October 5, 2020
ED, which had arrested Shivakumar on September 3 last year, had alleged that the Congress leader’s wealth grew exponentially during his two tenures as state minister between 2004 and 2018. The agency had put various projects granted by the then Karnataka governments through the ministries of urban development and power when DK Shivakumar was a state minister under the scanner. Shivakumar is currently out on bail in the ED case.
Sources said ED investigations had found that a major part of Shivakumar’s over Rs 800 crore wealth was made during his tenures as Urban Development Minister and Power Minister in Karnataka.
The agency, sources claimed, had found that multiple companies—some of them owned directly by Shivakumar—entered into agreements with firms that were granted projects by the state urban development ministry between 1999 and 2004. Shivakumar was then the minister of the urban department in the SM Krishna government.
Similarly, sources said, during his tenure as power minister between 2014 and 2018, Shivakumar’s wealth grew exponentially. Several projects undertaken by the government in this period and firms engaged in implementing them had been put under scanner by the ED.
ED had claimed to have found that several companies entered into land development agreements with firms that were granted urban development-related projects. Several suspected shell firms and contracts granted during the tenure of Shivakumar as power minister were also being probed.
Shivakumar, in his election affidavit in 2004, had declared a wealth of Rs 7 crore in 2004. This grew to more than Rs 800 crore in 2018. In fact, between 2013 and 2018, Shivakumar’s wealth grew by over Rs 600 crore.
Shivakumar’s lawyer Parmatma Singh had earlier denied the allegations. “Except for one or two properties, none of the properties mentioned in his election affidavit were bought during the periods when he was a state minister. This is only political propaganda. For a money laundering offence, you need to have a scheduled offence. This case has started with an Income Tax raid. Sections invoked are all of Income Tax. Section 120 B of IPC was invoked and this has attracted PMLA. So there is no substantive offence under PMLA. They are basically trying to create a disproportionate assets case. That never culls out of their own case. There is no charge of abuse of official position,” he had told the Indian Express earlier.
Shivakumar has repeatedly argued that all his wealth is declared and he has paid taxes due on the same and so he has no ill-gotten wealth to hide.
Shivakumar has in the past too denied any wrongdoing and has said he was being targetted for having played an instrumental role in keeping the Congress flock together during Rajya Sabha polls in 2017. Shivakumar had arranged the stay of 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat in a Karnataka resort when senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel was contesting to secure a Rajya Sabha seat. Following this, I-T searches were conducted against him and ED subsequently took action.
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