A Delhi court on Wednesday remanded senior Congress leader and former Karnataka minister D.K. Shivakumar, arrested in a money-laundering case, to the custody of the Enforcement Directorate till September 13.
Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar passed the order after the ED sought 14-day custodial interrogation of Mr Shivakumar, who was arrested on Tuesday, claiming that he was evasive and non-cooperative in the probe and there was “phenomenal growth” in his income while he was holding important government position. “Accused is sent to ED custody till September 13,” the court said.
While opposing the ED’s claims, Mr Shivakumar’s counsel said the Congress leader had already been questioned for 33 hours by the ED and he was not a flight risk. After the court’s order, Mr Shivakumar’s counsel sought permission that the Congress leader be allowed to make an appeal to his supporters, who had come in large numbers to the court premises, to maintain peace. The court, however, denied permission and asked the investigation officer to ensure Mr Shivakumar does not do so. However, the court allowed Mr Shivakumar to meet his family members in the courtroom itself. The ED had in September 2018 registered the money-laundering case against Mr Shivakumar, Haumanthaiah, a staffer at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, and others. Earlier, in a video posted from his Twitter handle, Mr Shivakumar is seen sitting on a chair with policemen standing around him. “Political vendetta has become stronger than the law in this country,” he is heard saying in the video.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged on Wednesday that Mr Shivakumar’s arrest was another example of “vendetta politics” and the BJP government was using probe agencies and a “pliant” media to selectively target individuals. “The arrest of D.K. Shivakumar is another example of the vendetta politics unleashed by the government, using agencies like the ED/CBI & a pliant media to selectively target individuals,” Mr Gandhi tweeted. The Congress has hit out at the BJP-led Central government over the arrest, saying the Opposition party will not be intimidated by the “politics of persecution” and would continue to pose “hard questions” to the government.
The Congress also said the NDA government’s second term was characterised by three words: “tyranny, chaos and anarchy”. Congress spokesman Manish Tewari cited the economic slowdown, an “undeclared emergency” in Kashmir and the situation in Assam after the publication of the updated final NRC, to claim there has been a “complete breakdown of governance” in the Narendra Modi government’s second term. At a press conference, he alleged in order to cover up this complete breakdown of governance, the continued “persecution” of Opposition leaders was being carried out and the arrest of Mr Shivakumar was the latest in a series of “continued political vendetta”.