New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Friday recorded the statement of Karnataka Congress president D K Shivakumar and his MP-brother D K Suresh for over four hours in the National Herald money laundering case, officials said. As he left the agency office at the A P J Abdul Kalam Road in central Delhi, Shivakumar (60) told reporters he was asked “a lot of questions” about Young Indian (the company that owns National Herald), about his family members and institutions linked to him.
“I have not carried all those papers…I have agreed to send them (to ED authorities) over e-mail as soon as possible…,” he said. Earlier, while entering the ED office he had told mediapesons he was a “law-abiding citizen” and hence he was deposing before the agency despite not knowing why he was called for.
“I have respect for the law…I had requested for time (deferring the October 7 summons) but they said no you have to come. I have come today…let me see, let me hear them, let me answer whatever I know…,” Shivakumar said.
The senior Congress leader who is walking with other leaders in the Bharat Jodo Yatra, which is currently in his state Karnataka, left the march to appear before the agency in Delhi.
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Shivakumar had walked along with party leaders Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi on Thursday during the yatra. His brother and Congress MP from Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha seat D K Suresh too deposed before the agency in the same case. He also told reporters that he will be submitting the required documents to the agency in the coming days.
Shivakumar had appeared before the ED last on September 19 in Delhi where he was questioned with regard to another money laundering case linked to alleged possession of disproportionate assets.
The latest round of questioning pertains to Shivakumar and Suresh donating an unspecified amount of money in the past to Young Indian. The agency wants to know the details of these transactions, sources said.
Working President of Telangana Congress J Geeta Reddy and few other party leaders have also been questioned by the agency with regard to similar transactions made by them in the past.
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. The Gandhis are the majority shareholders of Young Indian.
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 that year. In May this year, the agency filed a chargesheet against him and some others linked to him in this case.
The case was registered after taking cognisance of a chargesheet (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 Shivakumar 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 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 Shivakumar had hosted 44 Gujarat Congress MLAs at the resort to keep the flock together.