The Enforcement Directorate arrested former Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar in connection with the Rs 8.83 crore money laundering case on Tuesday. Shivakumarâ€™s arrest comes after he was questioned by ED officials in New Delhi for four days. ED sources say that the former minister has been grilled regarding his business transactions with Sunil Kumar Sharma, the proprietor of Sharma Travels and also his connection with Coffee Day. ED officials arrested the Congress leader alleging that he was not co-operating with the probe.
The Enforcement Directorateâ€™s probe began after the Income Tax Department filed a chargesheet alleging money laundering. The I-T case was registered after sleuths found Rs 8.83 crore cash during search and seizure operations in August 2017 at various of his properties in New Delhi, including his residence in Safdarjung Enclave.
The Enforcement Directorate had booked DK Shivakumar, and his business associates under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and section 120 B of the Income Tax Act after the Income Tax Department filed a chargesheet against the Congress leader in the Economic Offences Court in 2018.
The Income Tax raid and the chargesheet
Income Tax sleuths have accused DK Shivakumar of developing a hawala network to funnel money to the Congress high command. The Income Tax Department allegedly found Rs 8.83 crore unaccounted cash in New Delhi and accused DK Shivakumar of purchasing various properties in the national capital via the money that was funnelled through the alleged hawala network. In its complaint before the Special Court for Economic Offences, the I-T sleuths had alleged that DK Shivakumar had sent the cash to All India Congress Committee (AICC).
According to the complaint filed by the I-T Department in the court, the sleuths had seized undisclosed cash, which was allegedly handed over to one Mulgund by DK Shivakumar in three instalments of Rs 5 crore, Rs 3 crore and Rs 2 crore each.
I-T investigators also accused DK Shivakumar of procuring the services of Sunil Kumar Sharma, owner of Sharma Transport; Anjaneya Hanumanthaiah, the Liaison Officer in New Delhiâ€™s Karnataka Bhavan; Rajendra N, an employee of Sharma Transport; and his business associate Sachin Narayana for allegedly transporting the cash.
In addition to this, the I-T had also submitted before the court that it had recovered Rs 6.68 crore unaccounted cash from a house in Safdajung Enclave on August 2, 2017. The I-T officials also stated that Rajendran, one of Dk Shivakumarâ€™s associates had turned an approver in the case and had stated before the I-T that the Safdarjung Enclave flat belongs to late Suresh Kumar of Sharma Transport, who is the brother of the co-accused Sunil Kumar Sharma. Anjaneya had allegedly told the I-T that Sharma and Shivakumar stored money at the house for several years.
â€śShivakumar set up an exclusive network of persons and premises across Delhi and Bengaluru in order to transport and utilise unaccounted cash. It is pertinent to note that unaccounted cash of 8.5 crore has been found and seized in four premises of Delhi which are directly relatable to DKS. Three flats were purchased in Safdarjung Enclave. Among these flats, Flat No.107, B-2, purchased by DKS, and Flat No.17, B-4, was purchased by Sachin Narayan and Flat No.201, B-5, was purchased by late Suresh Sharma,â€ť the Deputy Director of Income-Tax (Investigation), Income Tax Department, stated in the chargesheet.
The ED Investigation
The ED case against DK Shivakumar was filed after the Income Tax Department submitted its chargesheet.
The ED is probing into Income Tax Departmentâ€™s allegations that DK Shivakumar allegedly transported the unaccounted money through Sunil Kumar Sharma, stored in the flats and then distributed to the Congress high command. The Income Tax chargesheet accuses DK Shivakumar of hatching a criminal conspiracy along with Sachin Narayan and Sharma in Bengaluru in order to evade taxes.
The Enforcement Directorate is looking into DK Shivakumarâ€™s connections in Singapore, which is the primary topic of interrogation on Saturday, the source said. The ED is questioning Shivakumar regarding the business trip he took with his daughter Aisshwarya to Singapore in July 2017.
This is in connection with the documents the Income Tax Department had found during the search and seizure operation carried out at the residence of Shivakumarâ€™s financial assistant N Chandrashekar on August 2, 2017.
â€śAt Chandrashekarâ€™s residence, we found that Shivakumarâ€™s daughter Aisshwarya had dealings with Coffee Day and M/s Soul Space. Chandrashekar has told I-T that Rs 20 crore was transferred to DK Shivakumar by Coffee Day. This led the I-T to look into Rajneesh Gopinath, a Singapore citizen, and they found Rs 1.2 crore cash at Rajneeshâ€™s house, which allegedly belonged to VG Siddhartha, meant for transfer to DK Shivakumar. The questioning is about the money laundering through cross-border networks and how DK Shivakumar laundered money though these channels,â€ť the ED source alleged.
DK Shivakumar, Congress say itâ€™s political vendetta
DK Shivakumar stated that the sudden summons by the ED is malafide, but added that he had full faith in the legal system and would face the case both legally and politically. DK Shivakumar had also turned emotional when the ED summoned him for questioning for the third day on September 2. Shivakumar had cried as he was unable to offer his respects to his deceased father on Ganesh Chaturti. Both state and national leaders of the Congress party have accused the central government of misusing investigative agencies like the CBI and ED to target opposition leaders.