New Delhi, Sep 19: Just by paying the tax on it Congress leader D K Shivakumar cannot turn his tainted property into untainted one, the Enforcement Directorate said Thursday while opposed his bail application in a money laundering case. The ED told Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar that if released, Shivakumar may influence the persons who are in knowledge of his “grave offence” of money laundering and are yet to be examined.
Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj, appearing for the ED, said he did not cooperate during the investigation and failed to offer any plausible explanation for the source of acquisition of properties worth Rs 800 crore.
“The declaration of property made by him is irrelevant. The question is how he acquired it. Even if he pays tax on it, it still remains tainted property. By just paying tax tainted property cannot be turned into untainted,” the probe agency told the court.
The claims made by the politician were “unbelievable”, it said.
“He says he is agriculturist. Rs 1.38 crore from agricultural income is projected by him in last 20 years. Entire property is Rs 800 crores. Saying that Rs 1.38 crore was invested and became 800 is unbelievable,” the ED said.
Senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, appearing for the Karnataka Congress leader, opposed the submission saying he never claimed that the mere income from property became Rs 800 crore.
ED’s special public prosecutors Amit Mahajan, N K Matta and Nitesh Rana also said that Shivakumar did not cooperate during questioning and offered no plausible explanation on the source of acquisition of the properties.
The court has posted the matter for further hearing on the application on September 21.
The agency said that Shivakumar, who is in judicial custody, did not cooperate during interrogation despite direct documentary evidence linking him with proceeds of crime in the case.
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”.
“If enlarged on bail, there exists all likelihood of the applicant hampering the investigation of the case and influencing the persons whose names were revealed during the probe recently. Investigation against the accused is at a crucial stage…
“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 ED said.
It said Shivakumar, 57, 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, Aisshwarya 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.