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Congress slams govt over Shivakumar probe

Congress slams govt over Shivakumar probe

Describing the ED questioning of former Karnataka minister and senior Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar as "political vendetta", the Congress on Saturday slammed the government saying it was continuing to target opposition leaders with the sole aim of diverting attention from its failures.
Congress slams govt over Shivakumar probe

In a statement, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, "The continuous and targeted harassment of opposition leaders by the government with the sole aim of diverting the attention of the people from its massive failures continues unabated."

He said, for the last five years, the Modi government has been targeting its political opponents by fabricating "false" cases with "political vendetta and vengeance". Backing its Karnataka leader, who is considered to be the party's chief troubleshooter, Surjewala said, "It is a matter of public knowledge that Shivakumar has been fully cooperating with all agencies and has appeared as required, from time to time."

Condemning the government's action against his party collegue, the Congress leader said, the "highhanded tactics and illegal processes" were being deployed against Shivakumar.

"It is reiterated that for all these acts of mindless vendetta on part of the government and its puppet agencies, the Congress will continue to point out, oppose and protest against the blunders being deliberately committed by the government on various fronts, the gravest being that of annihilation of the Indian economy and pauperisation of its people," Surjewala added.

His remarks came following the questioning of Shivakumar in a money laundering case.

Shivakumar is being questioned by the Enforcement Directorate since Friday. He was questioned by ED officials for over five hours on Friday. Shivakumar, considered to be the Congress' troubleshooter, was instrumental in keeping the party's MLAs from Gujarat away from being poached in 2017 ahead of the crucial Rajya Sabha polls in which Ahmed Patel was the party's candidate and won narrowly.

Shivakumar had arranged for the stay of the Congress Gujarat MLAs at a luxury resort in Karnataka at that time. He has also been intrumental in keeping the flock together by holding talks with the rebel party MLAs during the previous Janata Dal-Secular and Congress coalition government in the state.

Before appearing for questioning Shivakumar accused Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa of indulging in vindictive politics by targeting him and other opposition leaders.

On Friday, Shivakumar said, "I am a law-abiding citizen, and I have legal options which I am exploring." The Congress leader added that he will face the proceedings "legally, politically and socially".

On Saturday, Shivakumar was again questioned by the financial probe agency for the second consecutive day. He has been on the ED and Income Tax department's radar post-demonetisation.

The alleged money laundering came to light after I-T sleuths raided Shivakumar's flat in New Delhi on August 2, 2017 which led to the seizure of unaccounted cash to the tune of Rs 8.59 crore without any evidence about its source. The ED has filed a case on the basis of the I-T department's chargesheet last year.

( With inputs from IANS )

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