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Govt's bid to divert attention from 'economic emergency': Cong on Shivakumar's arrest

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: September 3, 2019  | 22:51 IST

New Delhi, Sep 3 (PTI) The Congress hit out at the BJP-led government over D K Shivakumar's arrest on Tuesday, alleging that punitive actions in a "revengeful manner" were being taken against its leaders to divert people's attention from the "economic emergency" prevailing in the country. Terming the action as "political vendetta", the party said it will fight against the arrest of Shivakumar, a prominent Karnataka Congress leader, legally as well as "in the people's court". Immediately after his arrest, a tweet from Shivakumar's Twitter handle said: "I congratulate my BJP friends for finally being successful in their mission of arresting me. The IT and ED cases against me are politically-motivated and I am a victim of BJP's politics of vengeance and vendetta." "I appeal to my party cadre, supporters and well-wishers to not be disheartened as I have done nothing illegal. I have full faith in God and in our country's judiciary and am very confident that I will emerge victorious both legally and politically against this vendetta politics," another tweet from his handle read. Shivakumar was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money-laundering case on Tuesday. The sitting MLA from Kanakapura and a former cabinet minister, Shivakumar appeared before the agency for the fourth time for questioning on Tuesday. He was placed under arrest under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), officials said. Reacting to the development, Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters here, "India's economy is in doldrums. Rupee has become the worst performing currency. Every sector is in complete shambles, be it textiles, automobiles, steel, refinery, coal or in all other drivers of growth. "The GDP growth rate is now below five per cent. Actually, it is about three per cent. There is an economic emergency prevailing in the country. To put a lid over all this and to draw the attention of the country away from their own misdeeds, the BJP government is taking false actions against Congress leaders." The "illegal" arrest of Shivakumar was one such instance, he said. "Shivakumar is innocent, there is not an iota of evidence against him and it is only to draw the attention away from the complete economic mismanagement and anarchy that such punitive actions are being taken against Congress leaders in a revengeful manner," Surjewala added. The opposition party would fight against Shivakumar's arrest legally as also in the people's court, he said. "GDP falls to 5%= Arrest Chidambaram! Sensex & Rupee Crash = Arrest D K Shivakumar. English rulers -- Divide and rule! BJP's Mantra -- Mislead and Misrule!," the Congress leader later said in a tweet. Congress general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal described Shivakumar's arrest as a "clear case of political vendetta". "The arrest of @DKShivakumar is a clear case of political vendetta by the fascist government at the centre. After Shri.Chidambaram, yet another leader facing vengeance for standing up against the horse trading and petty politics of the @BJP4India," he said in a tweet. Venugopal alleged that the ED and the CBI had turned "puppet agents" of the government, adding that a "wrong trend" was set by the ruling dispensation to "harass and hunt down the political opponents with fabricated allegations". "The BJP government is desperately trying to hide its outright failure in checking the economic slow down and financial crisis with shameless harassment of political opponents," he said in another tweet. Former Karnataka chief minister and JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy also voiced support for Shivakumar, saying after days of interrogation, without even allowing a day's break for festivals, the ED cited non-cooperation to arrest the Congress leader. "The ruling government is using investigating agencies to oppress those opposition leaders, who they think are a threat to their interests," he said. PTI ASK RC

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