Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her party colleague Ambika Soni went to Delhi’s Tihar Jail this morning to meet with their party’s leader from Karnataka, DK Shivakumar, who is in jail over allegations of money laundering. Mr Shivakumar’s brother DK Suresh was also present during the meeting of the Congress leaders.
The Delhi High Court will give its verdict on Mr Shivakumar’s bail plea today. He was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in an alleged money laundering case in September. The investigators alleged the 57-year-old Congress leader had not been paying taxes and made transactions worth crores of rupees.
Mr Suresh told reporters that Mrs Gandhi assured Mr Shivakumar the party is with him and will stand in his support. Mrs Gandhi told him this is a case of “political vendetta” and other Congress leaders are also being targeted by the BJP government at the centre, Mr Suresh said.
“We have to fight them and come out of this,” Mr Suresh said, quoting the Congress president, according to news agency Press Trust of India.
Mr Shivakumar’s 23-year-old daughter, Aisshwarya, was also questioned by the Enforcement Directorate days after he was arrested. The investigators said they wanted to ask her how her net worth grew from around Rs. 1 crore in 2013 to over Rs. 100 crore in 2018, and whether the financial transactions between her and her father involved unaccounted money.
Mr Shivakumar made national headlines in 2017 when he agreed to accommodate 44 Congress legislators from Gujarat at a resort to prevent them from being poached by the BJP ahead of a crucial Rajya Sabha election.
Soon after, income tax officials came knocking on Mr Shivakumar’s door. Several properties linked to the Congress leader were also raided in August 2017.
Former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who met the jailed Congress leader on Monday, has said Mr Shivakumar was a target of political revenge.
“It was a cordial meeting. He is very confident that he can face everything. He has that capacity. Whoever wants to do vengeance politics, they will be taught. This is a personal visit. We worked together. I came here to give confidence to him. He is mentally very strong. He will fight it with boldness. He has given all details and he co-operated with them very well. Anyone can guess why this is all going on,” Mr Kumaraswamy told reporters on Monday, after meeting his former cabinet colleague in the Congress-Janata Dal Secular coalition government that fell when several MLAs quit both the parties in July. Mr Shivakumar was the main troubleshooter of the coalition government.