Bengaluru: Karnataka Congress on Friday defended party leader and former Minister D K Shivakumar, who has been issued fresh summons by the ED, saying ‘misuse’ of investigating agencies “to take revenge’ against him was condemnable.
“The Central government is taking revenge against D K Shivakumar by misusing I-T and Enforcement Directorate for (giving protection to Gujarat Congress MLAs). “If he has committed a mistake, action can be taken against him in accordance with law, but misusing investigating agencies to take revenge is condemnable,” Congress Legislature Party Leader Siddaramaiah tweeted.
Shivakumar was instrumental in ensuring the safe stay of Gujarat Congress legislators in a Karnataka resort during Rajya Sabha polls in 2017 amid allegations that the BJP was trying to poach them. Alleging that there was a “conspiracy’ against Shivakumar, KPCC President Dinesh Gundu Rao expressed the hope that he would come out clean and said that the Congress stands by him.
“BJP is misusing government agencies as party’s frontal agencies for their political reasons… If we see what has happened in last five years since the BJP came to power, it will be clear that how they have targeted opposition leaders and those who criticized them, including journalists and NGOs by making false allegations… it is BJPs agenda,” Rao said.
Pointing out that several State Congress leaders and their relatives were targeted using the Income Tax department, ahead of the May 2018 assembly and 2019 Lok Sabha polls, he alleged that central agencies have started working in accordance with a political party’s agenda.
“D K Shivakumar has been targeted for last two-three years ever since he was raided during Gujarat Rajya Sabha election (in 2017) when Gujarat MLAs were here at a resort,” he said. Rao demanded to know why raids were not carried out against BJP leaders, despite a MLA alleging in the Karnataka assembly that a leader, who is now Deputy Chief Minister, had tried to lure him with money.
Shivakumar on Friday evening appeared before the ED in Delhi for questioning in a money laundering case. Earlier in the day, he had termed the ED action a ‘conspiracy’ to defame him and his party. Rao alleged that Shivakumar was pressurized to join BJP and to implicate Congress leaders.
Those joining BJP are being ‘pardoned’ and I-T or ED cases against them were getting cleared, he said citing the examples of former TMC leader Mukul Roy and former Congress leader Himanta Biswa Sarma, both of whom joined the saffron party.