The ED had summoned the Vokkaliga strongman to New Delhi last week for questioning.
New Delhi/Bengaluru: In a move that sent shockwaves across the Congress, that was already screaming “vendetta politics” after the arrest of high-profile former fina-nce minister P. Chidambaram, another senior leader and Karnataka’s rising star D.K. Shivakumar was arrested on Tuesday by the Enforcement Directorate.
The ED had summoned the Vokkaliga strongman to New Delhi last week for questioning. Within hours of his arrest, his home base of Ramanag-ara has declared a bandh, while the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) have expressed their outrage.
The ED is expected to seek his custody for eight days for further interrogation on the ground that he has not been cooperating with the investigation. The agency, which is inquiring into the `8.59 crores recovered from Mr Shivaku-mar’s New Delhi flat, his alleged role in some hawala transactions and alleged disproportionate assets, gave no clue of an imminent arrest in the last four days that it has been questioning him.
A source said: “ED sleuths decided to arrest D.K. Shivakumar when he failed to satisfactorily reply to the questions put before him during the interrogation. He was giving conflicting versions during questioning.” Mr Shivakumar appeared before the ED for the fourth time for questioning on Tuesday. He was arrested under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), they added.
Mr Shivakumar will be produced before a Delhi court Wednesday, sources said. Mr Shivakumar appeared before the agency for the first time after the Karnataka high court dismissed his petition challenging the ED’s summons on Thursday.
The ED had in September last year registered a money-laundering case against Mr Shivakumar and others. The ED case was filed on the basis of a chargesheet (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.
Mr Shivakumar has repeatedly indicated that his role in ensuring the 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 income-tax searches and subsequent ED action against him.
On Tuesday afternoon, officials did not give the former minister a lunch break despite the lunch being delivered from his brother D.K. Suresh’s house inside its office. By the evening, the Delhi police began to stand guard around the ED office and at around 8 pm Mr Suresh was summoned inside and informed that Mr Shivakumar had been taken into custody.
The ED shut its doors thereafter and the Delhi police beefed up security all around as over 50 restive supporters of the Karnataka leader were present at the spot.
At around 9 pm, as ED officials took Mr Shivakumar for a medical checkup, his angry supporters gathered around the car he was in and began banging on it. The Congress leader emerged from the car to pacify them before leaving with the ED officials.
During the past four days, the agency has grilled Mr Shivakumar for around 29 hours and it interrogated him for another eight hours from 12 noon on Tuesday.
On Monday, the former minister had turned emotional while accusing the ED of denying him permission to go home to perform traditional rituals for his forefathers on the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi. He told the media in New Delhi that he was cooperating with the investigation and was ready for a month-long inquiry.