Violence marks Congress protest in Karnataka

Bengaluru/New Delhi: The day-long bandh called by the Congress in Karnataka on Wednesday in protest against the arrest of senior leader DK Shivakumar by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) witnessed incidents of violence in Bengaluru and several parts of the state even as a CBI court in Delhi granted custodial interrogation of DKS till September 13.

The court also ruled that lawyers and relatives can meet Shivakumar for half an hour every day. Shivakumar was arrested Tuesday in a money laundering case. DKS later tweeted saying "Political vendetta has become more stronger than the law in this country."

Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for DKS in the CBI court, alleged that the Congress leader is being 'slow tortured' by denying him food and other amenities.

He said remand is a rare exception and can't be granted in mechanical manner. "The ED's plea for custodial interrogation is perverse," he added.

Earlier, DKS was produced before CBI court judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar after he underwent medical checkup at Ram Manohar Lohia hospital.

Meanwhile, Kanakapura, the home town of DKS in Karnataka, witnessed complete shutdown following widespread violence.

Protesters burnt KSRTC buses in Ramanagara and Channapatna areas, the stronghold of the Vokaliga community to which DKS belongs. There were reports of stone pelting at buses too.

As a precautionary measure, the district administration had declared holiday in schools and colleges on Wednesday. In Bengaluru, state-owned buses were stoned and tyres burnt even as traffic came to a halt in a few areas.

Following the massive support that DKS seems to be generating in Karnataka, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said in a surprise statement that he was not happy with the arrest of Shivakumar.

Earlier, Congress leaders, led by General Secretary K C Venugopal, were denied permission to visit D K Shivakumar at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in Delhi.

In a tweet, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said “The arrest of DK Shivakumar is another example of the vendetta politics unleashed by the Govt, using agencies like the ED/CBI & a pliant media to selectively target individuals.”

Shivakumar, the Congress party’s troubleshooter in Karnataka, was arrested late on Tuesday by the ED in connection with a Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case.

The case registered by the ED last year is the fall out of an investigation carried out by the income tax department against Shivakumar in 2017 where Rs 8.83 crore in unaccounted cash was found in New Delhi in locations linked to the Congress leader.

In Delhi, several Youth Congress workers were detained following a scuffle with the police during a protest against the arrest of Shivakumar. The protesters raised slogans against the government and burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah outside the Indian Youth Congress' office in central Delhi.

While police barricaded the road leading to Parliament, a number of protesters tried to break through and jostled with police personnel.

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