Political Weapons Against Me Ahead of Assembly Polls, Says Shivakumar

With Enforcement Directorate (ED) filing a chargesheet under the anti-money laundering law against him and others, Karnataka Congress President D K Shivakumar on Thursday alleged that all “political weapons” are being used against him, ahead of 2023 assembly polls in the state. He claimed that the chargesheet is “part of a plan to eliminate people, whom the ruling dispensation fear may create trouble for them politically or don’t surrender to them”, adding that he is ready to “face everything”.

“I have got to know that some national channels are reporting that they (ED) have filed a chargesheet. They have submitted it to the court, but we have not been given a copy yet. The court will give us a copy. Usually, it has to be filed within 60 days from the day I was jailed, but they have filed it after 3-3.5 years after large-scale investigation,” Shivakumar said. Speaking to reporters here, he said he has belief in the law of the land and will abide by it.

“Let the chargesheet come, they can’t create any new things. However, the Income Tax department had created new things (against me earlier), going against the law and Supreme Court judgments,” he added. The federal probe agency in September 2018 registered a money laundering case against Shivakumar, A Haumanthaiah, an employee at the Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, and other people.

The case was based on an Income Tax Department chargesheet filed against Shivakumar and others before a court in Bengaluru for alleged tax evasion and hawala dealings. Further claiming that the “people of the country know that he has not done anything wrong” and that he had earlier stated that there were political motives behind the case, the KPCC chief recalled that during late Congress leader Ahmed Patel’s election to Rajya Sabha his house was raided and money belonging to his friends were reported as his.

“Let them do anything. In politics, they don’t leave their party (BJP) people, will they leave our party ones….things are going on,” he said. The I-T department had accused Shivakumar and his associate S K Sharma of transporting a huge amount of unaccounted cash on a regular basis through ‘hawala’ channels with the help of three other accused.

Shivakumar, 60, was arrested by the ED in this case in 2019, and a number of people and associates, including his daughter Aisshwarya and Congress MLA Lakshmi Hebbalkar, were questioned by the agency. The Congress leader, a former cabinet minister of Karnataka, Shivakumar is currently out on bail in the money laundering case.

Alleging that all the political weapons are being used ahead of assembly polls next year, Shivakumar claimed BJP Ministers, MLAs, and senior leaders had said “certain things and accordingly things are happening now”.”They (BJP leaders) have become courts, judges, police and investigation officers, let them do whatever they want,” he said, when questioned whether he fears that he will be jailed once again.

Noting that within 60 days of being jailed an interim chargesheet has to be filed, Shivakumar said he got bail before that. There were attempts to cancel his bail, but the Supreme Court rejected it; now the charge sheet has been filed and he expects notice to be served soon, he added.”Naturally we have to face it and we will face it. We are law-abiding citizens. We know that law has been taken for a ride, misused, there is a lot of pressure, but still we will face it,” he said.

Shivakumar averred that there exists a system under which the ruling dispensation “eliminates people, whom they fear may create trouble for them politically”.” Either you should go with them or surrender to them or else such people are eliminated, they are in that process now. I wish them all the best,” he added.

Shivakumar’s brother and Bengaluru Rural MP D K Suresh said that based on the chargesheet and after going through it, they will fight it out legally. Observing that they are yet to go through the chargesheet, in response to a question about whether an attempt is on to jail Shivakumar ahead of assembly polls, he said, “We are ready for everything. Shivakumar has fought for the people of the state as a Congress soldier…we will abide by the law and respond within the framework of the law.” There have been conspiracies after BJP came to power against those who oppose it and this may be part of it, he added.

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