Shivakumar’s bail plea kept on hold, sent to judicial custody

Shivakumar is one of the richest Congress MLAs in the country. Photo: PTI (File)

A special Delhi Court on September 17 (Tuesday) remanded Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar to judicial custody.

The court posted the hearing on his bail peal to Wednesday (September 18). Enforcement Directorate (ED) on September 3 arrested the Congress leader in an alleged money laundering case.

In a similar pattern, after the expiry of ED’s custody, the court had sent former finance minister P Chidambaram to judicial custody for 14 days, till Thursday (September 19), in the INX Media corruption case. He was sent to Tihar jail soon after.

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Fifty seven-year-old Shivakumar, who underwent treatment at RML Hospital in Delhi after complaining of chest pain last week, was produced before the court on Tuesday. Shivakumar’s judicial custody will continue in the hospital as the leader is undergoing treatment for his ill-health.

ED on September 13 took additional custody of Shivakumar for five days (ending today) citing non-cooperation during the interrogation process. The ED told the court that interrogation could not be complete as the leader was hospitalised for four days.

Shivakumar’s lawyer and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi appealed to the court that the applicant suffered from heart problem and high blood pressure, and hence sought bail on health grounds.

The ED had informed the court last week that Shivakumar, sitting MLA from Kanakapura, was withholding information and deliberately gave them irrelevant information.

Further, the ED on September 16 filed objections to Shivakumar’s bail plea noting that he could influence witness and tamper with evidence if released on bail.

The agency told the court that investigation into his case was at a crucial stage and his custody was important for them to proceed with the case. ED has already issued summons to Shivakumar’s chartered accountant and to another Congress leader Lakshmi Hebbalkar. Shivakumar had helped Hebbalkar take on Jarkiholi brothers in Belgaum. Shivakumar had ensured Hebbalkar’s group win the primary land development (PLD) bank president post in Belagavi. DKShi, according to media reports, amassed wealth through Hebbalkar’s brother.

Also read: Here are the murky deals that landed Shivakumar in trouble

With his arrest turning political, the Congress and JD(S) accused the ruling BJP of playing vendetta politics, while the Vokkaliga community to which Shivakumar belongs to, organised a mass rally on September 11 and vowed to retaliate against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.

On September 4, a day after his arrest, sporadic incidents of violence were reported in the Vokkaliga belt in Ramanagara and Kanakapura, the home turf of Shivakumar.

Ahead of the hearing, the Police tightened security in Ramanagara and Kanakapura to ensure no untoward incidents happen.

Shivakumar’s assets grew multifold rise in the last 15 years. Besides murky deals, a complex web of money transfers and property transactions within his family and friend circles made the ED doubt the growth of his assets. There were numerous money transfers, in the name of loans, to and from his wife, daughter, brother and mother.

As per an affidavit submitted to the Election Commission, Shivakumar and his dependents’ (wife and daughters) wealth increased from a mere ₹7 crore in 2004 to 251 crore in 2013. This further rose to ₹840 crore by 2018.

Meanwhile, Shivakumar moved the court on Tuesday seeking a copy of his statement recorded by the ED under section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

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