ED seeks 14-day custody of Congress leader Shivakumar

Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar. File photo

The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday sought 14-day custodial interrogation of Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar, arrested in a money laundering case, in a Delhi court.

Shivakumar, arrested on Tuesday night, was produced before Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar.

He was brought to the court after he underwent medical check-up at Ram Manohar Lohia hospital here.

The ED told the court that Income Tax investigation and statement of various witnesses have revealed "incriminating evidence" against Shivakumar.

The agency claimed that he was "evasive and non-cooperative" during the probe and there was phenomenal growth in his income while he was in an important position.

It said his the custody is required as he has to be confronted with voluminous documents and to unearth illegal properties.

Custodial interrogation of Shivakumar was necessary as some facts are in his personal knowledge, the ED said, adding that he tried to misguide the investigation.

It said Shivakumar's interrogation was needed to ascertain the source of money and unearth the modus operandi and that he did not explain cash seized in search.

Additional Solicitor General K M Natraj and advocate N K Matta are representing the ED, while senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Dayan Krishnan are appearing for 57-year-old Shivakumar.

Singhvi opposed the ED's plea for custodial interrogation, saying the agency's submission was without "application of mind" as Shivakumar has already been quizzed for 33 hours and he was not a flight risk.

Unless ED shows that something startling and new has happened, Shivakumar cannot be sent to its custody as he never absconded, he contended.

A bail application was also moved on behalf of Shivakumar and his counsels, including Krishnan, submitted that the whole case was based upon Income Tax search which started from August 2017 and the search leads to an I-T complaint filed on June 13, 2018.

"This is the foundation of the entire charge against me (Shivakumar). The remand application itself says Income Tax, and this is the offence with respect to which money laundering is done," Singhvi said.

The former cabinet minister and sitting MLA from Kanakapura seat had appeared before the ED for questioning on Tuesday for the fourth time at its headquarters here.

After a long session of grilling, Shivakumar was placed under arrest as per provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

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.

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

The ED had filed the 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 alleged 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. 

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