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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

Delhi high court grants Shivakumar bail in money laundering case

Shivakumar, 57, who was arrested by the ED on September 3 and was released from Tihar jail on Wednesday night, is only an MLA who belongs to a party that’s not in power in the state , the single-judge bench of justice Suresh Kait said in granting bail to the legislator.

india Updated: Oct 24, 2019 01:25 IST
Richa Banka
Richa Banka
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar leaves after being produced at Rouse Avenue Court in New Delhi.
Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar leaves after being produced at Rouse Avenue Court in New Delhi.(File photo: PTI)
         

The Delhi high court on Wednesday granted bail to the Congress’s Karnataka leader, DK Shivakumar, ruling out chances of him tampering with the evidence in a case of money laundering brought by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Shivakumar, 57, who was arrested by the ED on September 3 and was released from Tihar jail on Wednesday night, is only an MLA who belongs to a party that’s not in power in the state , the single-judge bench of justice Suresh Kait said in granting bail to the legislator.

“Therefore, in my considered view, there is no chance of the petitioner (Shivakumar) to tamper with the evidence,” the judge ruled. “I am of the considered opinion {that} the petitioner is entitled for bail on merits and medical grounds as well,”he said in the 19-page order.

Judge Kait granted bail to Shivakumar on a personal bond of ₹25 lakh with two sureties of an equivalent amount. The judge ordered the politician not to leave the country without the permission of the court and to make himself available to the investigators

Shivakumar, a seven-time MLA in Karnataka, was booked along with Anjaneya Haumanthaiah, an employee of the Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, and two others--Sachin Narayan and N Rajendra--for alleged offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).The case was based on a charge sheet filed by the Income Tax (I-T) department against them before a special court in Bengaluru last year on charges of tax evasion and engaged in so-called hawala transactions.

The I-T department has accused Shivakumar and his alleged associate S K Sharma of carrying out transactions involving huge amounts of unaccounted money on a regular basis through hawala channels with the help of three other suspects.

The court, while granting bail, also said the ED had not placed on record anything to establish that either the petitioner or his family members or associates had ever tried to contact any of the witnesses to persuade them not to disclose any information on money earned by him for himself and family members or aides.

The judge also noted that Shivakumar and another 14 witnesses had already been examined in the case.

He also noted that Shivakumar had been admitted in hospital for four days in hospital and that an angiography was also performed on him.

Reacting to the judgment, lawyer and senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi tweeted, “I welcome Delhi High Court’s decision of granting bail to @DKShivakumar. Consecutively another Congress leader gets bail after @PChidambaram_IN. Political vendetta has always met its ultimate fate by the judiciary”.

During the arguments, additional solicitor general KM Natrajan had argued that the present case involved the commission of “grave” economic offence of laundering of the proceeds of crime by Shivakumar and his associates through a series of transactions and “projecting the ill gotten proceeds as untainted”.

Former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah welcomed the court order as “happy news” and criticized the ED for arresting Shivakumar while the investigation is still underway.

“...let them (ED) investigate, but sending to jail during investigation is not right. On proving to be guilty one can be sent to jail, but sending while the investigation is still on is not right. Vengeance politics is not right..,” he added.

(With PTI Inputs)