Supreme Court dismisses 2018 money laundering case against Karnataka Deputy CM DK Shivakumar

On 23 November, 2023, the Siddaramaiah-led government withdrew the sanction granted to the CBI to investigate the case.

BySouth First Desk

Published Mar 05, 2024 | 2:26 PMUpdatedMar 05, 2024 | 7:08 PM

DK Shivakumar

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 5 March, dismissed a money laundering probe against Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar.

The Congress leader had moved the top court against the Karnataka High Court order that refused to quash the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons issued to him in an alleged money laundering case.

A bench of justices Surya Kant and KV Viswanathan granted the relief to Shivakumar,  saying the proceedings initiated against the appellants “under PMLA are hereby quashed”.

Related: SC leaves it to Karnataka HC to decide on CBI plea in DKS case

Shivakumar expresses gratitude

Shivakumar on Tuesday thanked the Supreme Court for dismissing a money laundering investigation against him, which was initiated in 2018.

He said the central agencies are planning to file an appeal against the order, but he is equally prepared for it.

“I prostrate before the judges in the Supreme Court from here. I have been saying that I did nothing yet I faced numerous problems,” Shivakumar, who is Congress Karnataka unit president said.

The deputy chief minister said he would soon let people know how the CBI targeted him.

“I got information about the relief from the Supreme Court. I learnt that the cases framed against me were found wrong. Today is a day of joy after many difficulties in life,” he said.

When asked whether he felt that the journey is now easy, Shivakumar said he never felt the journey was difficult.

“I went to jail confidently. The more they trouble me, I will only rise politically,” he said.

He thanked all his party leaders, friends and well-wishers across the country, who supported him during this crisis.

“I remember the way they arrested me and the way they seized all the documents. The income tax people and CRPF came to my house. I had not done anything wrong,” Shivakumar claimed.

He said, “There are attempts to file an appeal. Let them do it. They are ready for all kinds of fight and so do I.”

The case

The case dates back to August 2017 when the Income Tax department had carried out searches at multiple premises in Delhi as part of its alleged tax evasion probe against Shivakumar, his alleged business associate and liquor trader Sachin Narayan (45), another associate Sunil Kumar Sharma (46) who operated a fleet of luxury buses, 49-year-old Karnataka Bhawan (Delhi) employee A Hanumanthaiah and former state government employee and caretaker posted at the Karnataka Bhawan Rajendra N (76).

The department during the searches had seized more than ₹8.59 crore, out of which more than ₹ 41 lakh has now been adjusted as tax liability of Shivakumar and more than ₹7.58 lakh as that of Sharma after they claimed the money as their agriculture income and business income, respectively.

The tax department later filed a charge sheet before a Bengaluru court on tax evasion charges against all the accused, and the Enforcement Directorate took cognisance of this complaint to file a money laundering case in 2018.

On 23 November 2023, the Siddaramaiah-led government withdrew the sanction granted to the CBI to investigate a disproportionate assets case against Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar.

I-T conducted raid on DKS in 2017

The controversy surrounding Shivakumar commenced in August 2017 when the Income Tax (I-T) Department raided his premises.

At that time, Shivakumar was safeguarding 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat at a resort near Bengaluru, anticipating potential poaching attempts by the BJP before a Rajya Sabha election.

The I-T officials, accompanied by armed central police forces, entered the resort on 2 August 2017 and also executed searches at 67 locations linked to Shivakumar, his family, and friends nationwide.

The I-T Department reported discovering at least ₹9 crore unaccounted-for cash and attached properties worth crores for further investigation.

Also Read: Why DK Shivakumar is the target of IT, ED, CBI in an election year

The ED, CBI probes

Based on the I-T chargesheet, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) initiated a money laundering probe against Shivakumar in 2018.

Approximately ten days after being questioned by the ED officials, Shivakumar became the subject of CBI scrutiny.

Relying on the ED’s investigation findings, the CBI sought permission from the state government to file an FIR against the Congress state president.

The sanction was granted on 25 September 2019, and on 3 October 2020, Shivakumar was formally booked by the CBI under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

In September 2019, he was incarcerated in Tihar Jail but secured conditional bail from the Delhi High Court a few weeks later.

Shivakumar has consistently criticised the CBI’s actions, branding them as “mental harassment” and questioning their timing, particularly in the lead-up to the Karnataka Assembly polls.

He contends that the CBI, by issuing repeated notices, is applying undue pressure despite the case originating in 2020.

Also Read: Karnataka High Court stays CBI probe against DK Shivakumar

(With PTI inputs)