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Won't Be Cowed Down, Says Cong's DK Shivakumar as CBI Him Books in Rs 75 Cr Disproportionate Assets Case

File photo of Karnataka Congress Chief D K Shivakumar.

File photo of Karnataka Congress Chief D K Shivakumar.

The agency carried out searches at the Bengaluru residence of the Congress leader, and also 13 other locations spread across Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai on premises associated with Shivakumar’s relatives and associates.

Congress troubleshooter and the party Karnataka unit president DK Shivakumar was on Monday booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for amassing disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs 74.93 crore.

“The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a case against former Minister of Karnataka Government (Presently MLA) on the allegations of possession of disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs.74.93 crore (approx) in his name and in the name of his family members,” a CBI statement said.

The agency carried out searches at the Bengaluru residence of the Congress leader, and also 13 other locations spread across Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai on premises associated with Shivakumar’s relatives and associates.

Hours later, Shivakumar termed the searches conducted by CBI on properties linked to him as “politically motivated” and said he would not bow down to “conspiracies or pressure tactics to shut him up”.

Claiming that neither he nor his family members have committed any “mistake”, he said he was being harassed “for the sake of politics.’ “In 2017 at the time of the Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat, Income Tax raid was done against me, in 2018 economic offence court, in 2019 ED case and in 2020, CBI case.

It is purely politically motivated,” Shivakumar said. Speaking to reporters after the day-long CBI searches, he said he was ready to cooperate with the investigating agency as a law-abiding citizen.

“This is purely politics since I raised a lot of issues on corruption against the state government and wanted to hold a big agitation on the UP case (Hathras gang rape). Also, as by-elections have come, they (BJP) don’t want me, so they are trying to do their best. I wish them all the best,” he said, adding that he would leave it to the voters.

The CBI has said that the searches at 14 locations have led to recovery Rs 57 lakh cash (approx) and several incriminating documents, including property documents, bank related information, computer harddisk etc, and that the investigation is continuing.

The CBI has registered a case against Shivakumar and his family members on the allegations of possession of disproportionate assets worth Rs 74.93 crore (approx). It has registered a fresh case against the Congress leader based on a source information from another agency.

The information relates to assets amassed during Shivakumar’s tenure as a minister in Karnataka, they said.

Questioning Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa as to why an FIR was registered against him just ahead of the bypolls when permission was accorded for the CBI probe long ago, Shivakumar said, “jail, FIRs cannot cow me down”.

In his 30 years of political life, as a seven-time MLA, there were no allegations of corruption or related cases against him other than ED and IT department, he claimed and said, “If I have committed any mistake, I’m ready to accept the punishment.” Stating that he does not want to speak about the wrongdoings of others and has all the necessary documents, Shivakumar said “when the time comes, I will speak about it.”

He said the chief minister may be under pressure from someone higher up and so gave permission for CBI to conduct an inquiry against him, despite the advocate general expressing reservations. Shivakumar alleged that he, along with about 140 of his associates, were repeatedly being harassed by the IT and ED.

“It is your illusion that you can cow me down by doing all this. Till such time the God whom I trust is with me, along with my people and leaders, DK Shivakumar will not bow down to such conspiracies. It is just politics,” he added. Rejecting the CBI’s claim about recovery of Rs 57 lakh cashduring raid, Shivakumar said that as per the panchnama given to him, Rs 1,77,00 was seized from his house, about Rs three lakh to four lakh from his office and about Rs 2-3 lakh from his Delhi house.

“Other than that, nothing,” he said. “How will I know if something has been recovered from houses not related to me?. I’m answerable to what is in my house,” he said, also pointing out that he was an agriculturist by birth, businessman by profession, educationist by choice and politician by passion.

Before addressing the media, Shivakumar thanked supporters who had gathered near his residence in his support and in protest against the CBI.

Places searched include properties of Shivakumar’s brother and MP from Bengaluru Rural, DK Suresh. According to sources, CBI sleuths reached their homes in Bengaluru and also at Doddalahalli in Kanakapura earlier this morning.

Suresh in a tweet said they were completely cooperating with CBI officials as he asserted that BJPs ‘hollow threats’ would not shake them nor would they bow to pressure tactics. Officials also visited Shivakumar’s property at Kodihalliin Ramanagara, where his mother Gowramma resides.

Gowramma later told reporters that officials spoke to her and did not question or “trouble” her in any way.

Congress leaders have hit out at the BJP governments at the Centre and in Karnataka for the CBI searches, questioning its timing ahead of the November 3 bypolls to the Sira and the RR Nagar Assembly segments.

Party workers staged protests and demonstrations in front of Shivakumar’s residence and various places against the CBI searches, calling the agency as an “agent of BJP”. Shivakumar was arrested on September 23 last year by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the money laundering case and lodged in the Tihar jail under judicial custody.

The Congress leader was released from jail on October 23after the Delhi High Court granted him bail. Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala termed it “raid raj” and a “Machiavellian move” by the BJP government “The insidious game of intimidation & machinations of Modi-Yediyurappa duo being executed by a puppet CBI by raiding @DKShivakumar won’t deter us.

CBI should be unearthing the layers of corruption in Yediyurappa Govt. But ‘Raid Raj’ is their only ‘MachiavellianMove’!,” Surjewala said on Twitter. “Let Modi & Yediyurappa Govts & BJP’s frontal organisations i.e CBI-ED-Income Tax know that Congress workers& leaders will not be cowed down nor bow down before such devious attempts. Our resolve to fight for people & expose BJP’s maladministration only becomes stronger,” he tweeted.

Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah too in a tweet said, “@BJP4India has always tried to indulge in vindictive politics & mislead public attention.” “The latest CBI raid on @KPCCPresident@DKShivakumar’shouse is another attempt to derail our preparation for bypolls. I strongly condemn this,” he tweeted.

Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwath Narayan said the CBI searches on properties linked to Shivakumar were not politically motivated and had nothing to do with the November3 bypolls to two assembly constituencies in the state.

The state BJP described as “ridiculous and meaningless”, protests by the Congress over CBI searches. JD(S) leader and former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said he was not ready to comment immediately as every political party would say it’s politically motivated.

“…if an elected representative had done his or her job honestly – there’s no need to fear if we are honest. One should be ready to face anything,” he said, adding hestill has some faith in the constitutional agencies.

(With inputs from PTI)

first published:October 05, 2020, 19:39 IST