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If granted bail, Congress leader D K Shivakumar may hamper investigation, ED tells court

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: September 16, 2019  | 21:02 IST

(Eds: Adding details) New Delhi, Sep 16 (PTI) Opposing the bail plea of Congress leader D K Shivakumar, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) claimed before a Delhi court on Monday that if released he may influence the persons who are in knowledge of his "grave offence" of money laundering and are yet to be examined. The agency told Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar that the investigation in the money laundering case was at a crucial stage and the release of the politician may lead to destruction of important evidence. It also said that Shivakumar did not cooperate during questioning and could not offer any plausible explanation during investigation on the source of acquisition of properties worth Rs 800 crore. The court is likely to hear arguments on the bail application tomorrow, when Shivakumar, arrested on September 3 by the ED, will be produced on expiry of his remand for custodial interrogation. The applicant does not deserve bail in view of the nature and gravity of the offence, evidence in support thereof and severity of the punishment that a conviction would entail, the ED said. It also cited the "antecedents of the applicant, circumstances which are peculiar to the applicant, reasonable possibility of the securing the presence of the witness being influenced or evidence being tampered with a larger interest of the public/state and other similar considerations". The agency, in its reply through special public prosecutors N K Matta and Nitesh Rana, alleged that during interrogation Shivakumar did not cooperate despite direct documentary evidence linking him with proceeds of crime in the case. It said that the investigation revealed the names of various persons and entities and the probe was necessary to take the case to logical conclusion and to trace the proceeds of crime. "If enlarged on bail, there exists all likelihood of the applicant hampering the investigation of the case and influencing the said persons. Investigation against the accused is at a crucial stage. "While there have been bald denial about certain key aspects of the case by the applicant, the ED is identifying and investigating the role of other players involved in the instant case. "Huge amount of proceeds of crime have been found to be laundered and investigation in this regard is ongoing. There exists a reasonable apprehension of crucial evidence being destroyed if the applicant is enlarged on bail," the agency said. Regarding the medical averments raised by Shivakumar, 57, the agency told the court that his regular medical check-ups during ED remand have shown no complications. "His medical condition can very well be monitored in the prison," it said. The agency said that Shivakumar committed money laundering, "which posed a serious threat to the national economy and national interest" and that "it was committed with cool calculation and deliberate design with motive of personal gain regardless of the consequences to the society". The agency informed the court that Shivakumar's daughter, Aishvarya D K Shivakumar, 24, was also summoned during the probe and it was found that transactions to the tune of Rs 108 crore have been made in her name. During the probe, the agency also recorded statement of Shivakumar's auditor N N Somesh who provided information about the properties acquired by the politician and his associates by making cash payments. "The agency needs to summon and examine many more such persons and it is apprehended by the ED that if Shivakumar is granted bail, then there is every possibility that the applicant would influence such persons who are in knowledge of his offence of money laundering and would tamper with evidence," it said. The agency said that the investments made by Shivakumar in the name of his family, associates and accompanies are enormous and as per his election affidavit filed in 2018, he along with his family members holds assets worth Rs 800 crore for which he is unable to provide the source of acquisition. "The applicant, during the investigation so far, could not offer any plausible explanation with the respect to source for acquisition of all properties," the agency said. Shivakumar diverted tainted money through more than 317 bank accounts which finally landed either in his or his family members' bank accounts, the agency said. The ED had in September last year registered the money laundering case against Shivakumar, Haumanthaiah, an employee at the Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, and others. The case was based on a charge sheet (prosecution complaint) filed by the Income Tax Department against them last year before a special court in Bengaluru on charges of alleged tax evasion and hawala transactions worth crores. The I-T department has accused Shivakumar and his alleged associate S K Sharma of transporting huge amount of unaccounted cash on a regular basis through 'hawala' channels with the help of three other accused. PTI UK RT

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