HC starts Shivakumar hearing after ASG's apology

Karnataka Minister DK Shivakumar. PTI Photo

The Delhi High Court on Thursday commenced hearing on the bail plea of Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar, arrested by the ED in a money laundering case, after the senior law officer apologised for his absence.

The hearing commenced after Additional Solicitor General K M Natraj appeared in the court, minutes after the high court castigated the Enforcement Directorate for non-availability of the law officer.

The ASG apologized to Justice Suresh Kait, who had blasted one of the ED lawyers seeking accommodation for 30 minutes on the ground that the law officer was busy in Rouse Avenue district court.

"You cannot play hide and seek with the court," Justice Kait said, adding, "This is not acceptable. The court is not supposed to wait."

When the ASG had not appeared, the high court had reserved its order on Shivakumar's plea seeking bail and had asked the ED's counsel to file their written submissions by noon of October 19.

However, after the ASG apologised, it agreed to hear the matter.

Shivakumar, a seven-time MLA in Karnataka, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on September 3 for the alleged offence under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The 57-year old Congress leader is presently lodged in Tihar jail under judicial custody.

He has approached the high court challenging a trial court's order denying him bail in the case.

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.

The case was 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 or rupees.

The I-T department has accused Shivakumar and his alleged associate S K Sharma of indulging in transactions involving huge amounts of unaccounted money on a regular basis through 'hawala' channels with the help of three other accused.

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