New Delhi: Senior Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar on Friday was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for over four hours in a money laundering case, officials said.
Shivakumar, accompanied by his supporters, arrived at the agency’s headquarters in Lok Nayak Bhawan, Khan Market, here around 6:30 pm. He left around 11:45 pm. Officials said Shivakumar’s statement has been recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
It is understood that the investigating officer of the case has asked him to depose again on Saturday. “It is my duty (to appear)… I have to respect the law. We are law-makers and law abiding citizens. They (ED) have summoned me… I don’t know why they have called me under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). But, let me see, hear them. I am ready to face them (ED),” the MLA from Kanakapura told reporters before entering the agency’s office. Shivakumar had to appear before the agency after the Karnataka High Court on Thursday dismissed his petition challenging the summons issued to him by the ED.
Earlier in the day, Shivakumar indicated that his instrumental role in ensuring safe stay of Gujarat Congress MLAs in a Karnataka resort during the Rajya Sabha polls in 2017, amid allegations that the BJP was trying to poach them, was the reason for the I-T searches and subsequent ED action against him.
The central agency had in September last year registered a money laundering case against Shivakumar, Haumanthaiah, an employee at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, and others. The ED case has been filed based on a charge sheet (prosecution complaint) filed by the Income-Tax Department against him last year before a special court in Bengaluru on charges of alleged tax evasion and hawala transactions worth crores of rupees.
The I-T department has accused Shivakumar and his 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.