Bengaluru: Alleging a witch-hunt by the BJP to destabilise the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government headed by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, Water Resources and Medical Education Minister D. K. Shivakumar who is in the dock after Enforcement Directorate filed a First Information Report in connection with huge stacks of money reportedly found at his Delhi residence, said he was not a coward to run away.
Mr Shivakumar also alleged that the alleged diary that Mr Patra was quoting from did not exist. “I have not murdered or raped anyone or indulged in any illegal activities. I am ready to appear before the ED officials after receipt of notice”, the minister said.
Reacting strongly to BJP National Spokesperson Sambit Patra’s startling revelation regarding a diary found at Mr Shivakumar’s Delhi house and reported confession statements of close aides of the Karnataka minister, Mr Shivakumar who, earlier in the day had been hospitalised at a private hospital following food poisoning, came out of hospital to rebut the BJP spokesperson’s allegation.
Denying that money had been paid to Congress party or its leaders, the Karnataka minister said “the diary that the BJP spokesperson had quoted from during the press conference in Delhi from, does not exist at all.”
Terming the Enforcement Directorate’s evidance as fabricated, Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar said, “The diary had been fabricated and mentioned the names of Congress President Rahul Gandhi and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi by their initials - SG and RG - just to tarnish our party national leaders. This was being done in the wake of coming crucial elections to Lok Sabha.”
Mr Shivakumar said "I am not afraid of ED or Income Tax Department officials since I haven't done any crime. I am ready to undergo any torture and let them take my blood if they want. But I am confident of coming out clean out of this issue. I am being targeted after keeping the Gujarat Congress legislators in a resort in my district during the Rajya Sabha polls. On the same day, the IT sleuths simultaneosly conducted raids on 82 places in several parts of the country and tortured my family, friends and well-wishers in the name of investigation."
"Today, I am happy that BJP has admitted its role in government administration and in autonomous institutions which all these days remained apolitical. Though, the raids took place on August 2, 2017, why did they keep quiet for more than one year and only want to investigate it now," he asked.
He said officials had revealed that there was a lot of pressure on them to file FIR only to mentally torture him. " Why was no notice served since 2017 on me, seeking my explanation. I am aware of who are all behind this drama and I am going to expose them in the coming days. I too know their (BJP) dealings and will display everything in Delhi".
Throwing down a challenge, he said " I have not made any payment to our party or leaders. The BJP had no moral right to talk about the diary as the country knows the fate of the Jain diary which had contained the names of recepients of huge sum of money to top BJP leaders including the current PM Narendra Modi and former deputy prime minister Lal Krishna Advani."
"Mr Patra, ask your party leaders about the Jain diary. I am also aware of court's verdict in regard to revealation in diary case. I know the law of the land and respect it. The BJP talks of Congress corruption but makes jail-returned leaders like Mr B S Yeddyurappa and Mr Amit Shah as chief minister and party national president respectively".
Mr Shivakumar said he was not aware of any confession statements of the three accused which was read out by Mr Patra in Delhi and claimed that statements had been recorded, by investigation officials who "threatened" them.
He admitted however that Rs 41 lakhs that belonged to him had been seized from his Delhi residence but all the documents pertaining to its sources of income had been handed over to the department concerned. Besides, Rs 1.2 crore seized from the same place belonged to his friend who runs a transport business for which proof of income had been filed.
"I will tell Mr Yeddyurappa and other BJP leaders that they cannot threaten me with such cases. I can threaten somebody but none can threaten me. I have filed my IT returns promptly and paid Rs 30 crore tax. I have not involved in hawala business or earned money through illegal business. Let them put me in jail, I will not allow the BJP to topple the Kumaraswamy government at any cost. Dreams of forming the new government by the saffron party will never become a reality".
He claimed that BJP had offered crores of rupees to woo the Congress and JD(S) legislators and they would soon address the media to expose the saffron party leaders.
"You (BJP) are after my blood, my party and my leaders but you cannot win in 2019 LS polls by blackmailing. Such threats will not work with me. If summoned, I will happily appear before the ED to fight my case. D K Shivakumar is not a coward to run away..I will face it boldly. I have full faith in the judiciary."
Mr Shivakumar ruled out tendering his resignation, saying it was not necessary since there was no truth to the BJP's claim. "Now it's my turn to expose the BJP leaders before the nation. But, I will speak with documents".