Rattled by a special court in Delhi granting the Enforcement Directorate (ED) 10-day custody of Congress legislator DK Shivakumar on Wednesday for interrogation till September 13 in an alleged money laundering case, the party's Karnataka unit slammed the BJP for indulging in revenge politics on its senior leader.
"The BJP is misusing the I-T, ED and CBI as a pretext against its political opponents... no such revenge politics has ever been seen in the history of the country. Such incidents have spiked after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister for the second term," said the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) in a series of tweets.
The ED arrested the 57-year-old Congress troubleshooter on Tuesday after four days of interrogation in the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, and sought his remand for custodial questioning on the grounds that he was evasive in replies and non-cooperative in responding to a number of questions.
"We condemn the BJP's ploy, deception and fraud. A referendum will be held to answer this," said party's state unit president Dinesh Gundu Rao after a meeting of the party leaders at its office.
The party leaders also discussed the kind of hate politics the BJP was practicing against the opposition parties and their leaders.
"@DKShivakumar is being punished for blocking operation 'Kamala' and preventing (the) BJP from snatching power. He had also pulled off a prestigious RS (Rajya Sabha) election win in Gujarat from under the nose of (its national president) Amit Shah. No wonder DKS was arrested. Hardcore criminals are in power now! #ReleaseDK," tweeted the Congress Seva Dal.
Noting that such incidents like the arrest of Shivakumar and its other senior leader P. Chidambaram by the CBI on August 21 put the country's democratic system at risk, Rao said there was need for everyone to work together to convince the people of the truth.
Though the ED counsel sought 14-day custody of Shivakumar, Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar allowed only 10 days' remand till September 13, observing that the income of the accused had a "phenomenal growth" while he was in important position.
Shivakumar was a senior cabinet minister for energy in the Congress government from 2013-2018 and Water Resources in the 14-month JD-S-Congress coalition government from May 23, 2018 to July 23, 2019.
In his nomination to the Election Commission for contesting in the 2018 state assembly elections, Shivakumar declared in an affidavit that he and his family had a whopping Rs 840-crore worth assets, including lands, houses, investments, bank balances and properties as against Rs 251 crore he had before the 2013 assembly elections, a staggering 235 per cent jump in 5 years.
Shivakumar has been under the scanner of the Income-Tax department over the last 5 years for various real estate and commercial deals he struck as a businessman and an investor.
Raids on his residential and official premises in early August 2017 led to recovery of incriminating documents, files, records and Rs 8.6-crore unaccounted cash in his Delhi flat, indicating illegal transactions in crores of rupees.
"Political vendetta has become stronger than the law in this country," said Shivakumar soon after the judge pronounced the order.
Refuting the Congress tirade, BJP general secretary B.L. Santosh said for the grand old party, democracy is in ICU (intensive care unit) when its leaders face probe.
"Then CM of Gujarat Narendra Modi submits to the notices of (probe) agencies, comes out untainted... then HM of Gujarat Amit Shah submits to the laws of land and comes out unscathed... and then CM of Karnataka B.S. Yediyurappa faces judicial trial and gets clean chit .... Never was democracy in danger. Now, Congress leaders are under scrutiny... Democracy gets admitted to ICU. There is a limit Congis. Nation understands you perfectly," tweeted Santosh.