DK Shivakumar remanded to ED custody till Sept 17

Congress leader DK Shivakumar leaves the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office before being produced at a special court in connection with a money-laundering probe against him, in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

A Delhi court on Friday sent former Karnataka Minister and senior Congress leader D K Shivakumar to further custodial interrogation till September 17 in a money laundering case after the Enforcement Directorate sought more days to question him on materials related to 317 bank accounts and properties worth over Rs 800 crore.

“Although police custody cannot be claimed and granted mechanically, it is also true that the investigating agency has to be given a chance for a free, fair and full investigation,” Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhad said.

"The pace of investigation cannot be truncated when some material document and record remains to be put to the accused," the judge added.

The court allowed a plea by the ED for further interrogation of the leader, who, it claimed, had been evasive, and gave irrelevant answers and took several breaks on the ground of tiredness during the nine-day of questioning. The agency contended the accused was to be confronted with fresh materials including statements of some other accused and investment of tainted money.

The court, however, directed the agency to take care of his health conditions on concerns raised by his counsel.

“Before examination (interrogation) of the accused, his medical check-up must be done. In view of his medical record, we cannot take his health for granted,” the judge said, as his counsel claimed his blood pressure remained on a higher side.

The ED, led by Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj, claimed to have come across 317 bank accounts related to Shivakumar where “tainted money” was transferred, and properties worth Rs 800 crores in the country and abroad.

It further contended his 23-year-old daughter possessed Rs 100 crore worth of properties. It said some other accused had been examined by the agency and their statements recorded, while some more documents were to be obtained for which his further custodial interrogation was required.

The court, while allowing the plea by the ED, also asked the investigating agency to file its reply to the bail application moved by Shivakumar by September 16.

Opposing the contention by the ED, senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Shivakumar, submitted that the investigating agency cannot claim to have automatic remand. The agency had aggregated the assets acquired by others to Shivakumar, he said. “Being evasive is the subjective opinion of the investigating officer,” he submitted, adding the accused cannot be expected to speak what the investigating officer wanted him to speak.

Shivakumar was arrested on September 3 for his failure to give "tenable response" to alleged seizure of cash including Rs 8.56 crore from his apartment at Safdarjung here. It was alleged that he was evasive and non-cooperative in his questioning at its headquarters here in Delhi between August 30 and September 3.

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