Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar was arrested on Tuesday (September 3) by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering case, triggering a backlash from Congress leaders who termed in “vendetta politics”.
The former minister was arrested under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after he appeared before the agency for the fourth time for questioning on Tuesday, officials said, adding that he needs to be put through custodial interrogation.
The ED had in September last year registered a money laundering case against Shivakumar, Haumanthaiah, an employee at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, and others. He had denied any wrongdoing.
Shivakumar said the cases against him were “politically motivated” and accused the BJP of vengeance and vendetta. In a tweet, he took a dig at BJP leaders, congratulating them for his arrest.
I congratulate my BJP friends for finally being successful in their mission of arresting me.
The IT and ED cases against me are politically motivated and I am a victim of BJP's politics of vengeance and vendetta.
— DK Shivakumar (@DKShivakumar) September 3, 2019
State Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao accused the BJP of using investigating agencies to “vindictively target” opposition leaders and said the party stood with Shivakumar while former MP, VS Ugrappa called it witch hunting and took exception to the leader being summoned on Ganesha Chaturthi day for questioning.
Former chief ministers HD Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah among others have condemned the action against Shivakumar, calling it vindictive.
Shivakumar was in tears on Monday before entering the ED office in New Delhi as he expressed his anguish over the statements by Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol and Health Minister B Sriramulu.
Karjol had used a Kannada adage on Monday, which translates to “Those eating salt will have to drink water.” The adage is similar to “as you sow, so shall you reap”.
Sriramulu said on Monday Shivakumar was dreaming of becoming chief minister but it will remain just a dream. “His (Shivakumar’s) desire will never reach fruition. Congress has sidelined him but yet he thinks things will fall in place, which will never happen”, Sriramulu had said.
Ugrappa, who is the state Congress spokesperson and a former Lok Sabha member, said Shivakumar was not a criminal. “He is not running away but yet he was summoned on Ganesha Chaturthi day. If not vendetta politics, what else is it?”