Is BJP trying to breach Karnataka by pushing money laundering charges against Congress' DK Shivakumar?
B S Yeddyurappa has already called for Shivakumar's arrest and claimed that BJP will soon form a government in the state.
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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a money laundering case against Karnataka Water Resources minister DK Shivakumar and a few others on the basis of an alleged tax evasion and hawala transactions case.
The case has been filed based on a charge sheet by the Income Tax Department against him early this year before a special court in Bengaluru, on charges of alleged tax evasion and hawala transactions worth crores.
At the time of the raids, Shivakumar was facilitating the stay of 44 MLAs from Gujarat at the Eagleton Golf Resort. Photo: PTI
The Minister and his associate SK Sharma are accused of transporting huge amount of unaccounted cash on a regular basis through 'hawala' channels with the help of three other accused. The complaint was filed after the department found Rs 8.59 crore in cash at four Delhi properties, during searches on nearly 60 premises linked to him and his associates in August 2017.
At the time of the raids, Shivakumar was facilitating the stay of 44 MLAs from Gujarat at the Eagleton Golf Resort, Bengaluru, during the closely fought Rajya Sabha election of Sonia Gandhi's close aide Ahmed Patel, amid allegations that the BJP was trying to poach them.
Patel managed to scrape through the tightly contested election, where BJP President Amit Shah was himself overseeing the BJP's campaign, and went on to win the seat after two votes were found invalid, bringing down the winning tally to 44.
Ahmed had alleged that the BJP was misusing state machinery in a desperate attempt to win one Rajya Sabha seat. Photo: PTI
Shivakumar was credited with ensuring the Congress' flock stayed together amid allegations of horse-trading attempts.
The Congress at the time had alleged that the BJP was misusing state machinery in a desperate attempt to win one Rajya Sabha seat.
BJP is on an unprecedented witch-hunt just to win one Rajya Sabha seat— Ahmed Patel (@ahmedpatel) August 2, 2017
The BJP - which narrowly lost out to the Congress-JDS combine in the 2018 Karnataka Assembly elections, despite emerging as the single largest party - has now found the perfect excuse to attack the Congress.
The party, ruling 20 states of the country, still finds it hard to digest the electoral loss at the hands of the Congress-JDS combine, who came together post-poll to keep the BJP out of power in the state.
In a press conference BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra showed the alleged confessional statements of Anjaneya Hanumanthaiah, an employee of the Karnataka Bhavan in the national capital, and claimed the documents were proof of Congress's involvement in a Hawala network.
Shivakumar has refuted the allegations and said he was ready to face any type of consequences and torture, probably alluding to his party's allegations that state machinery was being misused to settle political score.
Still smarting from the recent defeat, BJP Karnataka President B S Yeddyurappa has called for Shivakumar's arrest and claimed that his party will soon form a government in the state, providing more fodder to the Congress' charge of the case being politically motivated.
Yeddyurappa has called for Shivakumar's arrest and claimed that his party will soon form a government in the state. Photo: PTI
Meanwhile Karnataka Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) has lodged two FIRs against Yeddyurappa - who earlier had to step down as Karnataka CM in 2011 after being indicted by the Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde in his report on illegal mining - in cases pertaining to illegal land-denotification during his term as chief minister in 2009-2012.
Amid reports of the BJP's attempts to form a government in the state, opinion seems to be divided even within the party camp at a recent meeting of its MPs and MLAs in Bengaluru.
While a section of the party still believes the people of the state voted for them to form the government, as they emerged the single largest party in the elections, others believe the current government should continue, as any failed attempt to form the government at this juncture could have an adverse impact on the BJP's fortunes in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections.
Amid these charges and counter-charges, with senior leaders of both major political parties facing corruption charges, what remains to be seen is how the voters of the state respond.