ExtendED! Unravelling DK Shivakumar in 5 days?

Judge tells ED to ensure proper medical care for Kanakapura MLA.

New Delhi/Bengaluru: Trouble continued unabated for senior Congress leaders as a Delhi court on Friday extended the custodial interrogation of Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) by four days till September 17 in a money laundering case.

Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar extended Mr Shivakumar's custodial interrogation after the ED sought a five-day extension of his custody.

The judge told the ED it should take care of Mr Shivakumar's medical requirements first and only then ask him questions. Mr Shivakumar, arrested on September 3 by the Enforcement Directorate in a money-laundering case, was produced before a Delhi court at the end of his nine-day custodial interrogation.

At the same time, since ED had not filed its objections for bail petition filed by Mr D K Shivakumar, the court directed the ED officials to file objections by Monday.

While remanding Mr Shivakumar to custody, the Enforcement Directorate designate court judge Mr Ajay Kumar Kuher directed the ED officials to extend needed medical treatment to him, before continuing interrogation.

Earlier, Mr Shivakumar's counsel Mr Abhisekh Manu Sanghvi had argued that Mr Shivakumar needed medical attention as his blood pressure remained high.

He had quoted the earlier case of the former Britannia chairman Mr Rajan Pillai, who died in prison when not provided proper medical assistance.

When the hearing began on Friday afternoon, Additional Solicitor General Mr K M Nataraj said that during the last 10 days, the ED had collected evidence against Mr Shivakumar. Stating that Mr Shivakumar had indulged in criminal activities, Mr Nataraj said that he had 317 bank accounts, where huge sums of money had been kept.

Summing up Mr Shivakumar's alleged benami transaction of over Rs 800 crore, Mr Nataraj contended that the documents pertaining to only Rs 200 crore could be collected. The voluminous documents had to be placed before Mr Shivakumar to elicit information about his benami transactions, of which, only he could reveal the details and sought five more days custody of Mr Shivakumar.

Mr Nataraj also charged that Mr Shivakumar was not cooperating and was giving evasive and irrelevant replies to interrogating officers, wasting the time of ED.

During the proceedings, Shivakumar however told the court that he is a law abiding citizen."They (the ED) summoned me and I did not avoid. I have nothing to hide. If you want to interrogate me, you can call me for interrogation anytime," he told the court.

At one point of time, the judge asked if ED could investigate outside the purview of PMLA and were investigating officers sure about getting information in next five days.

Mr Sanghvi argued that though the ED was claiming that they had seized Rs 8.1 lakhs, only Rs 41 lakh was shown. Besides, they had hidden facts about Mr Shivakumar's health, which was also a matter of concern.

For the last 10 days, ED had questioned him for more than 120 hours and how did they expect him to tell something, which he has not told in these many hours, he asked. Besides, most of the cases being charged under IT act could be closed after imposing a fine and the amended act of PMLA do not apply in this case, as the case was pertaining to 2017 and amendment came in only in 2019.

Mr Sanghvi also said that just because the ED had not filed its objections with respect to bail petition, it could not take his custody. At that juncture, judge asked the ED officials to file objections by Monday.

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