Two weeks after ED arrested Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar in a money laundering case, a Delhi court on Tuesday sent him to 14-day judicial custody.
Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar directed the ED to take Shivakumar to a hospital first and to see whether the doctors suggest admitting him there. "It is directed that the accused be first taken to the hospital and only after his medical condition is opined to be stable, he be sent to judicial custody in Central Jail, Tihar... The accused is remanded to judicial custody till 1 October," the judge said in the order.
The court has listed Shivakumar's bail plea for hearing on Wednesday at 3.30 pm.
The judge also said that in case the Karnataka MLA is admitted to the hospital, his custody should be taken over by the Tihar jail superintendent and the doctors should hand over his custody only on his discharge.
The judge also said that in case Shivakumar was taken to Tihar jail, then the authorities should permit him to take his medicines subject to the approval of doctor on duty in the jail.
The court took into consideration the medical records of Shivakumar, which said that he suffered from hypertension and fluctuating blood pressure and has undergone angioplasty earlier and is on a heavy medical dosage.
The probe agency claimed in the court that their interrogation of him was yet to be completed and sought permission from the judge to question him during the judicial custody.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) KM Nataraj and special public prosecutors Amit Mahajan, NK Matta and Nitesh Rana, appearing for the ED, told the court that Shivakumar's health condition did not allow his effective questioning.
The Congress leader's counsels " senior advocates AM Singhvi and Mukul Rohatgi " opposed the ED plea for judicial custody and sought his bail on medical grounds. They submitted in the court that the MLA's health condition was very serious and he might get a heart attack and therefore, he should be granted bail.
The ASG told the court that Shivakumar was earlier taken to a hospital as directed by the court and the interrogation could not be continued due to his ailment.
Singhvi further claimed that only Rs 41 lakh was recovered from Shivakumar during an IT raid in 2017 and not Rs 8.5 crore, as alleged by the ED and now the figure had "surprisingly" become Rs 143 crore.
He alleged that the ED was "biased" and "mala fide" and accused the agency of lying before the court about the investigation.
Singhvi also told the court that the 317 accounts belonging to Shivakumar, which have been put in front of media, are to harm his reputation. "There are only 20 accounts in total with Rs 60 lakh deposited in them in the last ten years," he asserted.
Rohatgi said Shivakumar was a seven-time MLA and not a 'flight risk'.
It is a case based on documentary evidence and there was no ground to keep Shivakumar in custody as he has no criminal antecedent, he said.
Rohatgi further said that this is a case of granting bail and the court can impose conditions. "If not bail, then medical bail should be provided," he added.
Opposing the bail plea, ED said that it had taken care of his medical conditions. It also alleged that laundering of money took place through bank accounts of the MLA and his family members.
Shivakumar, arrested on 3 September by the ED in a money laundering case, was produced before the court Tuesday on the expiry of his custodial interrogation.
After he was remanded to judicial custody on Tuesday, Shivakumar approached the Delhi High Court Tuesday, seeking a copy of his statements recorded by an assistant director of the ED under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
In his plea before the high court, he claimed that the statement under Section 50 of the PMLA could only be recorded by the ED director and the statement recorded by any other officer in the case should be removed from the records.
The money laundering case was registered by the agency against him in September 2018, based on a complaint filed by the Income Tax (I-T) department. During the initial probe, the I-T department had allegedly found unaccounted and misreported wealth linked to Shivakumar.
The department had then stated that it came across money laundering and hawala operations, involving a network of persons across Delhi and Bengaluru.
With inputs from agencies