Congress stands by Karnataka minister DK Shivakumar, slams BJP for raids
Karnataka Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao and former chief minister Siddaramaiah backed Irrigation Minister DK Shivakumar, after the BJP levelled graft charges against Shivakumar and Congress
Accusing the BJP of trying to destabilise the coalition government in Karnataka, state Water Resources Minister and senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar at a press conference on Wednesday, September 19 cried foul over the graft charges levelled by the BJP against him and his party.
"The BJP is trying to destabilise the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition government in the state by levelling baseless charges of corruption and money laundering against me and my party," Shivakumar said.
Reacting hours after BJP spokesman Sambit Patra alleged in Delhi that the Congress and corruption were "synonymous", Shivakumar said he had been cooperating with the Income-Tax (I-T) department and would do so even with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) if it served notice on him in the money laundering case.
Speaking after Patra’s statements, Shivakumar said, “BJP has today admitted their role in forcing investigative agencies to target me. It's being done to destabilise Karnataka coalition government keeping 2019 Lok Sabha elections in mind. They are day-dreaming of forming the government in Karnataka. I am not a coward, I have trust in the law of the land”.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had on Tuesday, September 18 filed a case of money laundering against Shivakumar under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. This was based on a chargesheet the I-T department had filed in a special court in Bengaluru early this year, involving alleged tax evasion and money laundering worth crores of rupees.
Patra at a press conference in New Delhi earlier in the day had claimed that evidence pertaining to the recovery of ₹4 crore from Shivakumar's flats in New Delhi showed Congress's involvement and 'proof of hawala network' that helped money transfer from Karnataka to the All India Congress Committee in the national capital.
Refuting Patra's allegations, the Minister said he did not do anything illegal or made any mistake and accused the BJP of defaming him and his party. "₹40 lakh was found in my Delhi flat, which my friends and business partners have declared that it belonged to them. Every rupee found has been accounted for," claimed Shivakumar,
Recalling that the I-T sleuths had raided 82 places belonging to him and his friends on August 2, 2017, Shivakumar said the action (raids) was taken on the same day he was hosting the party's legislators from Gujarat at a resort in Bengaluru Rural district.
Asserting that he would face the law, Shivakumar said BJP's state unit president BS Yeddyurappa had been charged with corruption. "Though I have been in the hospital recuperating from food poisoning, I am forced to address the media to refute Patra's allegations against me and my party," added Shivakumar.
“Mr Sambit Swaraj, holding the position of a national spokesperson, should be responsible before making statements or any allegations. Linking AICC for every action of mine without proof is unacceptable,” said Shivakumar.
Senior Karnataka Congress leaders stand by DK Shivakumar
Reiterating that the Congress stood by its minister, the party's state unit president Dinesh Gundu Rao said the money in Shivakumar's possession was accounted for.
"Minister DK Shivakumar rebuts BJP spokesman Sambit Patra's baseless charges; Reiterates he and his family are tortured because he refused to join BJP," tweeted Rao, adding that every single paisa in Shivakumar’s possession is accounted for. “Congress stands by Shivakumar,” said Rao.
Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah dismissed the allegations made by BJP National Spokesperson Sambit Swaraj as "frivolous, baseless and politically motivated", adding that "BJP is known for their jumlas, which is their only asset in politics".
With IANS inputs