ED summons Karnataka Cong leader Shivakumar (Lead)

Bengaluru/New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) summoned Karnataka's former Congress minister D.K. Shivakumar to appear before its investigation team in New Delhi on Friday afternoon in connection with his alleged involvement in 'hawala' transactions in violation of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.

"Have received summons from ED late yesterday (Thursday) night asking me to appear at 1 p.m. today (Friday)," tweeted Shivakumar. The Karnataka MLA informed the ED that he could only appear before it by noon.

"Although the sudden scheduling by ED is malafide, I believe in (the) rule of law and will definitely participate and fully cooperate with them (it) and abide by the law of our country," he further said.

The summons were issued after the Karnataka High Court on Thursday rejected the writ petitions of Shivakumar and four others to quash the ED's December 2018 summons to them for questioning in the case.

Dismissing the pleas, the High Court directed Shivakumar and the four others to appear before the ED and face the inquiry on the alleged transactions in violation of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.

The alleged money laundering came to light after raids by the tax sleuths on the premises of Shivakumar in Bengaluru, Kanakapura and New Delhi on August 2, 2017 led to seizure of unaccounted cash worth Rs 8.59 crore and no evidence on its source.

Cases were filed against all the five accused under Sections 277 and 278 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 and Sections 120(B), 193 and 199 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Justice Aravind Kumar also observed that it was for the law enforcing agencies like the ED and I-T Department to ascertain if the offence was in violation of the PMLA and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

Shivakumar has been on the Income tax and ED radars since demonetisation in 2016.

"The I-T raid on me was politically motivated for hosting then Gujarat Congress MLAs (at a private resort on Bengaluru outskirts in July-August 2017). As a loyal soldier of (the) Congress and a responsible politician, I did what (the) party asked me to do (and) for which I have been targeted," said Shivakumar, considered to be the party's trouble-shooter.

He also tweeted that he has full faith in the legal system and will face this (case) legally and politically.

--IANS

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