Earlier this week, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raided several properties across multiple cities associated with D.K. Shivakumar and his brother D.K. Suresh, both belonging to the Congress party in Karnataka. D.K. Shivakumar is the president of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. The Congress is accusing the BJP-led central government of using the CBI for political advantage.
Politics of vendetta:
In a twitter post, D.K. Shivakumar wrote that the “raid is a continuation of BJP’s vendetta politics against me. Congress was fighting on behalf of people ever since Corona & exposing the failures of BJP Govt. Such raids won’t stop me from fighting against injustice. We will win against such tactics in the court of the people.”
The raids occurred just before the upcoming byelections on November 3, 2020 in constituencies of Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Sira. In the past, Central investigative agencies have raided the properties of D.K. Shivakumar before crucial elections. When the Income Tax Department knocked on his doors in August 2017, it was before the Rajya Sabha polls from Gujarat when Congress loyalist Ahmed Patel was seeking a reelection. In 2019, just before crucial byelections to 13 Assembly constituencies, he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate and subsequently spent time in Tihar jail.
Karnataka’s Congress division has condemned the raids in a twitter post, saying that “Elections bring the best out of our Government agencies. CBI-IT-ED are performing constant election duties across the country for @BJP4India. Why do these agencies become hyperactive only before elections? This proves they are taking orders only from their political bosses.”
Ex-chief minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah has also blamed the BJP of indulging in vindictive politics and misleading public attention. He noted in a twitter post that the “latest CBI raid on @KPCCPresident @DKShivakumar’s house is another attempt to derail our preparation for bypolls.”
Law taking its course:
The CBI had registered the case against D.K. Shivakumar for amassing disproportionate assets worth ₹75 crores, after raiding 14 of his properties across different locations in the country. During the raids, the CBI recovered “cash of ₹ 57 lakh(approx) and several incriminating documents including property documents, bank related information, computer hard disk, etc.” The CBI also said that the case was registered after a seven month long preliminary inquiry into the amassing of disproportionate assets by D.K. Shivakumar and his family members when he was a minister in the Karnataka government.
In September 2019, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had arrested D.K. Shivakumar under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The ED claimed to have recovered unaccounted cash to the tune of ₹8.59 crore from the Congress leader, and alleged that he was involved in tax evasion and ‘hawala transactions’ worth crores of rupees. After having spent a few days in Tihar jail, he was granted bail by the Delhi High Court on October 2019. The recent CBI raids were done allegedly based on inputs provided by the ED.
The BJP has described the Congress protests as “ridiculous and meaningless”. The deputy chief minister of Karnataka C.N. Ashwath Narayan has been quoted as saying that the raids had nothing to do with the byelections. He noted that it was not right to do politics on this issue and that some people were “trying to get mileage by terming it politically motivated.”
P.S. Read an interesting excerpt from “Corruption, CBI and I: More than Memoirs of a Veteran Scam-Buster”, authored by former CBI Joint Director Shantonu Sen, in Scroll’s website here.