Karnataka Minister DK Shivakumar was today called for questioning by the Income Tax department at its Bengaluru office for the second consecutive day in a case of stated tax evasion. His mother, Gowramma, accompanied him to the Bengaluru headquarters on this occasion.
The Income Tax department has accused Mr. Shivakumar and his associate, SK Sharma, of transferring hi=uge amounts of undeclared cash through hawala channels on a “regular basis”. They have also stated that unaccounted cash amounting to Rs. 20 crores seized during raids in New Delhi and Bengaluru was “directly relatable” to him. The Congress, however, maintains that he is a victim of political vendetta.
The Karnataka minister made headlines in August 2017, when he agreed to accommodate 44 party legislators from Gujarat at a resort to avoid them from being poached by the ruling BJP ahead of a crucial Rajya Sabha election. Soon after, Income Tax officials came knocking on Mr. Shivakumar’s door.
While the Congress alleged that the Narendra Modi government was blatantly misusing central agencies to aim political opponents, the Income Tax department swore that its raid had nothing to do with the lawmakers he had taken under his wing. The episode finally finished with Congress candidate Ahmed Patel keeping his seat in the upper house.
Mr. Shivakumar’s travails didn’t. The Minister was asked to appear before Income Tax officials last July and August, and the Enforcement Directorate registered a money-laundering case against him and a few others in September. Several properties linked to the Congress leader were also raided on August 2 last year.