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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

Jailed Cong leader DK Shivakumar granted bail in money laundering case

DK Shivakumar had played a key role to shelter the Congress’s Gujarat lawmakers ahead of a crucial Rajya Sabha election in 2017.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2019 18:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar. (ANI photo )
Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar. (ANI photo )
         

Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar, who is in Tihar jail in a money laundering case file by the Enforcement Directorate, was on Wednesday granted bail by the Delhi high court saying he cannot tamper with the evidence or influence witnesses.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court granted bail to another Congress leader P Chidambaram, who was also in Tihar, in the INX Media case being probed by the CBI. The senior leader, however, still remains in ED custody as it is probing the money laundering angle in the same case.

Justice Suresh Kait said the Karnataka Congress leader was “entitled” for grant of bail as no material has been shown to indicate that he was a flight risk.

The judge also said that Shivakumar, 57, cannot tamper with the evidence as the documents are with the investigating agencies.

The court further said that he no longer was in power and there was no evidence to show that he or his family members or close associates attempted to influence witnesses.

It however directed that he be released on bail on furnishing a bond of Rs 25 lakh and two sureties of like amount.

The other conditions laid down by the high court while granting him the relief include not leaving the country with the concerned trial court’s permission, making himself available for interrogation when required and not to influence the witnesses.

Earlier in the day, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi met Shivakumar at Tihar Jail. She was accompanied by party leader Ambika Soni.

DK Suresh, Congress MP and brother of Shivakumar, told ANI that Gandhi told DK Shivakumar that the entire party is with him. “This is a political case and other such leaders are also being targeted. We have to overcome this,” he said.

Shivakumar was arrested by the ED on September 3 in the money laundering case. He is lodged in Tihar jail under judicial custody and had challenged the trial court’s order denying him bail in the case.

Shivakumar, a seven-time MLA in Karnataka, was booked along with Haumanthaiah -- an employee at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi-- and others for alleged offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The case was based on a charge sheet filed by the Income Tax Department against them last year before a special court in Bengaluru on charges of alleged tax evasion and ‘hawala’ transactions worth crores of rupees.

The I-T department has accused Shivakumar and his alleged associate S K Sharma of indulging in transactions involving huge amounts of unaccounted money on a regular basis through ‘hawala’ channels with the help of three other accused.

(With agency inputs)