Shivakumar arrested for fighting BJP’s horse-trading: Cong

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New Delhi, Sep 3 (IANS) The Congress termed the arrest on Tuesday of its former Karnataka Minister and senior party leader D.K. Shivakumar a clear case of “political vendetta” by the BJP-led Central government for standing against the party’s “horse trading” in the southern state.

Soon after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Shivakumar in a money laundering case, Congress General Secretary K.C. Venugopal said: “The arrest of D. K. Shivakumar is a clear case of political vendetta by the fascist BJP government at the centre. After P. Chidambaram, yet another leader facing vengeance for standing up against the horse trading and petty politics of the BJP.”

Hitting out against the investigative agencies for acting on the diktats of the Centre, the party’s Karnataka in-charge, said: “By these actions ED and CBI has proved to be the puppet agents of the government at the centre. A wrong trend has been set by the Modi government to harass and hunt down the political opponents with fabricated allegations.”

Venugopal said although there are “well proved” and “explicit cases” of black money transactions and money laundering during the political horse trading in Karnataka by the BJP leaders, the central investigating agencies have not registered any cases against BJP leaders. He said, Shivakumar, being a strong and obedient Congress leader in Karnataka, was always a target of the BJP.

“Although he unhesitatingly appeared for the questioning and cooperated with the investigations, the ED is seemingly obeying the command from their masters,” he said, adding that it was evident that the government was desperately trying to hide its outright failure in checking the economic slowdown and financial crisis with shameless harassment of political opponents.

“I strongly condemn this politics of vengeance and harassment,” he added.

Shivakumar, considered party’s troubleshooter, was arrested by the financial probe agency on Tuesday evening after his questioning on the fourth day in connection with a money laundering case.

The agency has questioned Shivakumar on Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday for over 29 hours.

As soon as the news of his arrest spread, scores of Congress supporters gathered outside the ED headquarters in the upscale Khan Market area in the national capital and protested against his arrest.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also described Shivakumar’s arrest as a diversionary tactic from the real issues.

“Shivakumar is innocent and there is not an iota of evidence against him,” he said, adding: “We will fight the arrest legally and in people’s court.”

Shivakumar first time deposed before the ED on Friday after the Karnataka High Court rejected his plea for interim protection from arrest by the ED. He was on the radar of the I-T Department and the ED since demonetisation in 2016. An I-T search at his New Delhi flat on August 2, 2017 led to seizure of Rs 8.59 crore unaccounted cash.

The I-T Department lodged cases against him and his four associates under Sections 277 and 278 of the I-T Act, 1961 and sections 120(B), 193 and 199 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Based on the I-T Department charge sheet, the ED registered a money laundering case against Shivakumar, Haumanthaiah, an employee at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, and others.

–IANS

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