Karnataka: The Income Tax Department will soon issue orders to seize Karnataka water resources minister DK Shivakumar’s properties, according to reports on Tuesday.
Shivakumar’s properties will be seized soon, said director general of Income Tax (investigation), Karnataka, BR Balakrishnan.
The action is being initiated following questioning of Shivakumar in connection with alleged tax evasion, money laundering and seizure of cash worth crores of rupees from his Bengaluru residence and properties in Kanakapura. The I-T department conducted multiple raids on his properties in 2017.
He had been called to the I-T office a number of times for questioning since August 2017. Even on January 3, Shivakumar’s mother was called in for questioning in Bengaluru.
Speaking after questioning, Shivakumar had said, “I have not done anything wrong. I am confident of getting justice. I am an accused in the case…my only anguish is that my 80-year-old mother was interrogated for six hours.”
According to the I-T officials, the questioning of both the minister and his mother began at 11 AM and continued till the evening on January 3. Shivakumar was grilled for three hours the next day too.
“I have no answers to questions on why the raids were carried out at the time of Assembly elections and now when the Lok Sabha elections are nearing.
“Last time also when I was summoned soon after returning from the hospital, I gave all the answers. I have been receiving multiple notices which I cannot explain now,” he had said on January 3 after coming out of the I-T office.
Shivakumar said the I-T officials were cordial with his mother Gowramma and gave her due respect. However, his grouse was that she was questioned for six hours.
Shivakumar, a frontline Congress leader in the state, was summoned for questioning on January 3 as part of a routine process following searches at various properties linked to him on August 2, 2017, I-T department sources said.
The minister had already appeared before I-T officials twice in July and August last year.
The searches were conducted after Shivakumar hosted 44 Gujarat Congress MLAs at a resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru to forestall alleged attempts by the BJP to poach them ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls which the then Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel won.
Last September, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had registered a money laundering case against him and some others for allegedly indulging in hawala transactions.
The I-T department had charged Shivakumar and his associate SK Sharma of transporting “huge” amounts of unaccounted cash on a “regular basis” through hawala channels with the help of three other accused.
The other accused are Sachin Narayan, Anjaneya Hanumanthaiah and N Rajendra.
Narayan is a business partner of Shivakumar and Sharma is the proprietor of Sharma Transports, which runs a fleet of luxury and passenger buses and provides transport services to various concerns and individuals on rental basis, the I-T department had said in its complaint.
Hanumanthaiah, an employee posted at the Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, was allegedly responsible for storing and handling unaccounted cash of Shivakumar in the national capital, it had said.
Rajendra, a caretaker at Karnataka Bhavan, also works for Sharma, apart from looking after the immovable properties of Shivakumar and Sharma, it had said.
Unaccounted cash of about Rs 20 crore was seized during raids in New Delhi and Bengaluru last August and I-T officials had said the money was “directly relatable” to Shivakumar.
Shivakumar, however, claimed the I-T department was targeting him and not letting him “breathe”, but asserted he would fight the case legally.