The Karnataka Congress on Friday accused the Central government of misusing its law enforcement agencies to harass former minister DK Shivakumar after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summoned him for questioning in an alleged money laundering case.
"The BJP-led NDA government is desperate to arrest Shivakumar by implicating him in false cases and accusing him of 'hawala' transactions and amassing disproportionate assets valued at hundreds of crores of rupees," the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Dinesh Gundu Rao told reporters.
Shivakuma flew to New Delhi on Friday evening and appeared before the ED, which had summoned him on Thursday night after the Karnataka High Court declined to provide him interim protection from arrest by the probe agency.
"The state and central BJP leaders have been abusing investigating agencies like the CBI and the ED to intimidate and humiliate our leaders and lawmakers, including former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram," Dinesh Gundu Rao added.
Justice Aravind Kumar on Thursday dismissed Shivakumar's writ petition for quashing the ED summons issued in December 2018 for appearing before it in connection with the alleged 'hawala' transactions under the Prevention of the Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.
Even before Shivakumar could exhaust his legal options to protect himself from arrest by appealing in the Supreme Court against the high court order, the same judge (Justice Kumar) declined to prevent his arrest if the ED wanted to question him under judicial custody.
"Prima facie, it is evident that the ruling dispensation is hell bent on harassing and humiliating Shivakumar and his family by leaking half-truths to the media," Dinesh Gundu Rao said.
The alleged money laundering came to light after raids by the tax sleuths on the premises of Shivakumar in Bengaluru, Kanakapura and New Delhi on August 2, 2017 led to the seizure of unaccounted cash worth over Rs 8 crore without any evidence of its source.