Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar
Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar
ANI Photo

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate Wednesday sought 14-day custodial interrogation of Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar, arrested in a money laundering case, in a Delhi court.

Shivakumar, arrested on Tuesday night, was produced before Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar.He was brought to the court after he underwent medical check up at Ram Manohar Lohia hospital here.

Shivakumar's lawyers Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Dayan Krishnan opposed the ED's plea for custodial interrogation saying that he had joined the probe and never absconded.

His counsel claimed that Shivakumar has not been given food today and seemed that it is "slow torture" by ED. Singhvi said the police remand is a rare exception and cannot be granted in a mechanical manner and the ED's plea for Shivakumar's custodial interrogation is perverse.

He was opposing the submissions of the ED which told the court that the Income Tax investigation and statement of various witnesses have revealed "incriminating evidence" against Shivakumar.

The probe agency claimed that he was "evasive and non-cooperative" during the probe and there was phenomenal growth in his income while he was in an important position. Ed said his custody is required as he has to be confronted with voluminous documents and to unearth illegal properties.

Custodial interrogation of Shivakumar is necessary as some facts are in his personal knowledge, it said, adding that he tried to misguide the investigation.

It said Shivakumar's interrogation was needed to ascertain the source of money and unearth the modus operandi and that he did not explain cash seized in search. Additional Solicitor General K M Natraj and advocate N K Matta are representing the ED.

Singhvi opposed the ED's plea for custodial interrogation, saying the agency's submission was without "application of mind" as Shivakumar has already been quizzed for 33 hours and he was not a flight risk.

Unless ED shows that something startling and new has happened, Shivakumar cannot be sent to its custody as he never absconded, he contended.

A bail application was also moved on behalf of Shivakumar and his counsels, including Krishnan, submitted that the whole case was based upon Income Tax search which started from August 2017, and the search leads to an I-T complaint filed on June 13, 2018.

"This is the foundation of the entire charge against me (Shivakumar). The remand application itself says Income Tax, and this is the offence with respect to which money laundering is done," Singhvi said.

He submitted that the Karnataka High Court has stayed the entire process arising out of the Income Tax case against Shivakumar and the offence under the I-T Act is compoundable (offences where, the complainant enters into a compromise and agrees to have the charges dropped against the accused).

The former cabinet minister and sitting MLA from Kanakapura seat had appeared before the ED for questioning on Tuesday for the fourth time at its headquarters here.

After a long session of grilling, Shivakumar was placed under arrest as per provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). 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.

Shivakumar had to appear before the ED after Karnataka High Court last week dismissed his petition challenging the summons issued to him by the agency.

The ED had filed the PMLA case against him and others based on a charge sheet (prosecution complaint) filed by the Income Tax Department against them 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 alleged associate S K Sharma of transporting huge amount of unaccounted cash on a regular basis through 'hawala' channels with the help of three other accused.

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