ED Grills Congress Troubleshooter DK Shivakumar In NH Case

New Delhi | Updated: 07 October, 2022 1:21 pm IST
Congress leader DK Shivakumar appeared before ED in the National Herald money laundering case as Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra passes through his state Karnataka. (TNI photo by Tonmoy Thakur)

Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar on Friday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for the second time in the National Herald case in which his bosses Sonia and Rahul Gandhi have already been quizzed.

Shivakumar, considered one of the troubleshooters of the Congress party, is being questioned by ED officials under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Speaking to reporters outside the ED office here, the Congress leader called him a “law-abiding citizen”. “I respect the law of the land. I had requested for another date but they said no. So, I have come today. Let me answer their questions,” he said.

He was quizzed by the agency in the same case on September 19. During the last round of questioning, he was asked about his and his brother DK Suresh’s financial association with the National Herald newspaper.

In June this year, the ED questioned Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul, who is leading the 3,570 km Bharat Jodo Yatra these days. Rahul, an MP from Kerala’s Wayanad, was grilled over a period of five days.

The yatra is passing through Karnataka and Shivakumar has looking after the arrangements and traversing the state to gather support.

On Thursday, the agency questioned Telangana Congress working president J Geeta Reddy and another party leader Gali Anil Kumar about Rs 20 lakh donations they allegedly made to the National Herald.

India’s oldest political party has called the ED action an attempt to harass its top leadership.

“It’s not surprising. The politics of vendetta continues and every effort will be made by the Modi government and the Basavaraj Bommai government to derail and disrupt the yatra,” Congress communications in-charge Jairam Ramesh told The New Indian on October 3.

“We are not going to be derailed and disrupted. We will continue,” he had said.

In what Congress leaders say has given new energy to Congress workers, Sonia Gandhi joined the Bharat Jodo Yatra, which aims to “unite India” against hatred and communalism, in Karnataka’s Mandya on Thursday.

In August, the ED had sealed a portion of the Herald building, which also houses the office of Young Indian, in Central Delhi’s Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg. However, the premises were opened after Mallikarjun Kharge appeared before the agency for questioning during the Monsoon Session of Parliament. The Herald House is also the registered office of AJL and Young India Ltd (YIL). Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are majority shareholders of the YIL.

The ED registered a fresh case about a year ago after a trial court in Delhi took cognizance of an Income Tax Department probe carried out based on a complaint filed by the former BJP MP Subramanian Swamy in 2013.

Swamy claimed that Young Indian Limited (YIL) “took over” the assets of the defunct print media outlet in a “malicious” manner to gain profit and assets worth over ₹2,000 crores. The BJP leader also alleged that YIL had paid ₹50 lakhs to obtain the rights to recover ₹90.25 crores which AJL owed the Congress party.

In 2014, the ED initiated a probe to see if there was any money laundering involved in the case.

It is pertinent to note that in 2020, the ED had attached one of the prime properties in Mumbai’s Bandra under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The said property, with market value to the tune of hundreds of crores of rupees, was illegally allotted to AJL.

All seven accused in the case – veteran Congress leader Motilal Vora, AICC general secretary Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda, YI and the Gandhis – have denied accusations against them.

In April 2022, senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Pawan Bansal were also questioned by the ED.

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