The former chief minister of Karnataka H D Kumaraswamy on Sunday slammed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for ‘refusing’ to allow a plea by senior Congress leader D K Shivakumar for exempting him from appearing before it on Monday, it means today in view of Ganesha Chaturthi festival.
Kumaraswamy termed as “vindictive attitude” the ED’s action in summoning Shivakumar to appear before it on a festival day. The ED had asked him to appear for questioning after the Karnataka High Court dismissed his plea challenging earlier summons.
Shivakumar, a former Karnataka Minister, had appeared before the ED in New Delhi on Saturday for the second straight day in the money laundering case filed against him and others. According to him, the ED has asked him to appear again on Monday.
Gowri Ganesha is an important festival for Hindus. Mr. DK Shivakumar had asked for a day to observe the festival. However, ED officials denied him even this. He tweeted, “If this is not vindictive attitude, then what is?”
Shivakumar was a Minister in Kumaraswamy lead Congress-JD(S) coalition government. After a day-long questioning on Saturday, Shivakumar had said ED issued summons seeking his appearance again on today, rejecting his request for relaxation as it was a festival day.
Speaking to reporters in Delhi on Saturday night, he had said that according to his family traditions, they offer prayers to ancestors like on the day of the festival.
He had said, “We requested stating that I have to offer my respect to elders of the family on the day of the festival. They said no and have issued me summons to appear at 11 am (on Monday) I have happily accepted it”.
On Friday, the investigating officer of the case had grilled Shivakumar for over 4 hours and recorded his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Karnataka Congress on Friday had defended Shivakumar and accused BJP lead central government of “misusing” investigating agencies “to take revenge” against him.
Shivakumar and Congress have indicated that his “instrumental role” in ensuring a safe stay of Gujarat Congress MLAs in a Karnataka resort during the Rajya Sabha polls in 2017, amid allegations that the BJP was trying to poach them, was the reason for the I-T searches and subsequent ED action against him.
The ED had in September last year registered the money laundering case against Shivakumar, Haumanthaiah, an employee at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, and others.
It was based on a charge sheet (prosecution complaint) filed by the Income-Tax Department against Shivakumar last year before a special court in Bengaluru on charges of alleged tax evasion and hawala transactions worth crores.
The I.T. department has accused Shivakumar and his associate S K Sharma of transporting a huge amount of unaccounted cash on a regular basis through ‘hawala’ channels with help of three other accused.