Karnataka minister cries foul over BJP’s graft charges

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Bengaluru, Sep 19 (IANS) Accusing the BJP of trying to destabilise the coalition government in Karnataka, state’s Water Resources Minister of the Congress D.K. Shivakumar on Wednesday cried foul over the graft charges levelled by the BJP against him and his party.

“The BJP is trying to destabilise the JD-S-Congress coalition government in the state by levelling baseless charges of corruption and money laundering against me and my party,” Shivakumar said.

Reacting hours after BJP spokesman Sambit Patra alleged in Delhi that the Congress and corruption were “synonymous”, Shivakumar said he had been cooperating with the Income-Tax (I-T) department and would do so even with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) if it served notice on him in the money laundering case.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had on Tuesday filed a case of money laundering against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. This was based on a chargesheet the I-T department had filed in a special court in Bengaluru early this year involving alleged tax evasion and money laundering worth crores of rupees.

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“Unaccounted cash, hawala transactions and corrupt deals are the pillars on which the Congress sits. We now know why the Congress was crying during demonetisation,” said Patra at a press conference in New Delhi earlier in the day.

Presenting confessional statements of the three accused to the I-T department in the case pertaining to the recovery of Rs 4 crore from Shivakumar’s flats in New Delhi, Patra said the evidence showed Congress’s involvement and ‘proof of hawala network’ that helped money transfer from Karnataka to the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in the national capital.

Patra also claimed that the money was transferred to the AICC office not in lakhs or crores but in kilogrammes.

Refuting Patra’s allegations, the Minister said he did not do anything illegal or made any mistake and accused the BJP of defaming him and his party.

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“Rs 40 lakh was found in my Delhi flat, which my friends and business partners have declared that it belonged to them. Every rupee found has been accounted for,” claimed Shivakumar,

Recalling that the I-T sleuths had raided 82 places belonging to him and his friends on August 2, 2017, Shivakumar said the action (raids) was taken on the same day he was hosting the party’s legislators from Gujarat at a resort in his (Bengaluru Rural) district.

Asserting that he would face the law, Shivakumar said BJP’s state unit president B.S. Yeddyurappa had been charged with corruption.

“Though I have been in the hospital recuperating from food poisoning, I am forced to address the media to refute Patra’s allegations against me and my party,” added Shivakumar.

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Reiterating that the Congress stood by its minister, party’s state unit president Dinesh Gundu Rao said the money in Shivakumar’s possession was accounted for.

“Minister @DKShivakumar rebuts @BJP4India spokesman #SambitPatra’s baseless charges; Reiterates he and his family are tortured because he refused to join BJP,” tweeted Rao, adding every single paisa in his possession is accounted for. @INCIndia stands by Shivakumar.

–IANS

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