Bengaluru: An economic offences court has issued a notice to high-profile Karnataka minister and Congress’ crisis manager DK Shivakumar in a year-old income tax case. Notices have also been sent to his elderly mother and his brother DK Suresh, who is an MP.
Water Resources and Medical Education Minister Shivakumar, who played a key role in installing the JD(S)–Congress government in Karnataka just a month ago, has called it a political vendetta by the BJP high command in New Delhi.
According to his close aides, Shivakumar, his mother and his brother have been asked to appear before a court in person along with four other accused in the case.
During the high-voltage Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat last year, Shivakumar had sheltered over 40 Congress MLAs from the state at a Bengaluru resort. The I-T department had raided his house and his friends’ houses and business establishments in Bengaluru, Mysore, Hassan and New Delhi. Around Rs 5 crore in cash was recovered at a house in New Delhi.
Accused number four in the case, Anjaneya, allegedly told the Income Tax officials that Rs 12 lakh found at his house was Shivakumar’s. Based on the recovery, the I-T department charged him with money laundering acts. He is already out on bail in one of the cases.
The timing of the court notice has triggered widespread speculation in Karnataka. Speaking to News18, Shivakumar said he was being targeted for his “daring politics and personal charisma”. “I don’t know why they are harassing me like this. Only me. I have never done anything wrong and have full faith in the judiciary. We will face it,” he said.
He also threatened that he may have to make a “secret” diary public, which, he claimed, could expose BJP leaders and other bigwigs in Karnataka and outside.
His brother and Congress MP from Bengaluru (Rural) DK Suresh said the BJP was taking revenge on them for fighting for the Congress party. “We are hugely popular. The BJP is scared of us and harassing us. We will give them a fitting reply one day,” he said.
Congress MLC CM Lingappa accused the BJP of targeting Shivakumar for his “courage and conviction”. Former chief minister Siddaramaiah also described the latest developments as “vendetta politics by the BJP”.
Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who is reportedly worried over the fall out of the notice, has held talks with Shivakumar about his legal battle. The latter is in constant touch with top Congress leader and Supreme Court lawyer Kapil Sibal, claim his aides.
Former BJP MLA Belur Gopalakrishna, who recently joined the Congress, has demanded an income tax raid on Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa’s close confidante and MP Shobha Karandlaje. “Yeddyurappa has kept his ill-gotten wealth at her house. If the I-T department is not acting under pressure from the BJP, it should raid her house. What is now happening is pure vengeance,” he said.