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National Herald case : Karnataka Congress chief D.K. Shivakumar appears before ED again

Karnataka Congress president D.K. Shivakumar on Monday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate in Delhi for a fresh round of questioning in the National Herald money laundering case.

This is the second time that the federal agency is recording his statement in the case that has been registered under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The 60-year-old former Karnataka Cabinet Minister told reporters he has furnished all documents sought by the agency in connection with the probe and that he had to depose again despite seeking a three-week deferment of the summons.

Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar arrives at the ED office in New Delhi for questioning in the National Herald money laundering case on Novmenber 14, 2022.

“They have summoned me again on the Young Indian issue…I had sent some papers to them (ED) but probably they are not satisfied.”

“We respect them, we respect the summons and we respect the institution. There is nothing to hide and whatever we have given (as a donation to Young Indian) is for charitable work,” he said.

Mr. Shivakumar and his MP brother D.K. Suresh have donated an unspecified amount of money in the past to Young Indian.

“There is nothing wrong in this (giving donation)…many well-wishers have done so,” Mr. Shivakumar, who said he came straight from the Mahakal temple in Ujjain for his deposition, told reporters.

The Congress leader had skipped the scheduled summons of November 7 citing his professional engagement and the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra led by party leader Rahul Gandhi that was traversing through Karnataka.

He and D.K. Suresh were last questioned by the ED in the case last month after which Mr. Shivakumar told reporters outside the agency’s office on A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Road in central Delhi that he was asked “a lot of questions” about Young Indian, the company that owns National Herald, his family members, and institutions linked to him.

Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and other senior Congress leaders like Mallikarjun Kharge and Pawan Bansal have been questioned by the ED over the last few months in the National Herald money laundering case.

Mr. Shivakumar first got into the ED crosshairs when he was arrested by the agency on September 3, 2019 following multiple rounds of questioning in a case that emerged from an Income tax department action against him.

The Delhi High Court had granted him bail in October of that year.

In May this year, the agency filed a charge sheet against him and some others linked to him in this case.

He was questioned by the ED in September in another money laundering case linked to the alleged possession of disproportionate assets.

The case 2019 was registered after taking cognisance of a charge sheet (prosecution complaint) filed by the Income Tax Department against them in 2018 before a special court in Bengaluru on charges of alleged tax evasion and hawala transactions worth crores.

The I-T department has accused Mr. Shivkumar and his alleged associates of transporting huge amounts of unaccounted cash on a regular basis through ‘hawala’ channels with the help of three other accused.

The Kanakapura MLA played an instrumental 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.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary, the late Ahmed Patel, had fought the Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat in 2017 and Mr. Shivakumar had hosted 44 Gujarat Congress MLAs at the resort to keep the flock together.