ED arrests Cong's DK Shivakumar for money laundering

After four days of sustained questioning, senior Congress leader D K Shivakumar was arrested amid high drama on Tuesday by the Enforcement Directorate in a money-laundering case.

Shivakumar, who appeared for inquiry on Tuesday for the fourth time, was arrested around 8.40 pm.

Around 8.30 pm, ED officials sent Shivakumar’s followers away from the main gate and deployed a large number of police personnel. The ED officials immediately closed the main gate.

With rumours that he may be arrested any moment doing the rounds, some 500 of his followers who came from different parts of Karnataka rushed to ED office.

The ED had cited non-cooperation as the reason for Shivakumar’s arrest under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act after questioning him for more than 35 hours over four days.

The arrest of Shivakumar, a former state minister and a key troubleshooter for the Congress, is the second high-profile arraignment by central investigating agencies within a fortnight. Earlier, former Union Minister P Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI but in a different case.

“I congratulate my BJP friends for finally being successful in their mission of arresting me. The I-T and ED cases against me are politically motivated and I am a victim of BJP’s politics of vengeance and vendetta,” read tweets on Shivakumar’s Twitter handle.

Shivakumar will be presented before a court here on Wednesday where the ED will make a case for his custodial interrogation. Soon after placing him under arrest, ED officials took him to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital for medical check-up.

The ED had last September registered a money laundering case against Shivakumar and others based on a charge sheet filed by the income tax department on charges of alleged tax evasion and hawala transactions worth crores.

The I-T department had also seized unaccounted for money worth around Rs 8.59 crore from Shivakumar.

Shivakumar was summoned by the ED for questioning on Friday last and was questioned for four days, barring Sunday.

“D K Shivakumar is innocent. There is not an iota of evidence against him,” Randeep Singh Surjewala, in charge of the AICC communication department said after the arrest.

Youth Congress president Srinivas B V also condemned Shivakumar’s arrest as a “sick and cowardly witch hunt to divert attention from the economic issues facing the country”. The ED had issued summons to Shivakumar Thursday last asking him to appear before it on Friday for questioning in the money-laundering case.

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