Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday reached Tihar jail to meet DK Shivakumar, her party’s lead troubleshooter in Karnataka arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering case 50 days ago. Gandhi was accompanied by party general secretary in-charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal.
Gandhi was at Tihar last month also to visit former minister P Chidambaram who was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the INX Media case. The party had then deputed its senior leaders led by Ahmed Patel to meet DK Shivakumar, who was a minister in Karnataka’s previous HD Kumaraswamy government.
The Congress interim president’s visits to jail to meet party leaders are designed to send a message that the party was firmly behind the two senior politicians. The Congress says both of them had been targeted by central agencies because of political vendetta, not because they violated the law.
“The visits are a message to the cadre that the party stands firmly with leaders who have been jailed in such cases,” a senior Congress leader said.
Sonia Gandhi’s decision to reinforce the message comes days after former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy from the Janata Dal Secular turned up at Tihar to meet Shivakumar.
Shivakumar had played a key role to shelter the Congress’s Gujarat lawmakers ahead of a crucial Rajya Sabha election in 2017, sequestering them at his resort in the outskirts of Karnataka capital Bengaluru. It is around this time that the income tax authorities raided properties linked to Shivakumar.
In these raids, the income tax department officials said they had seized unaccounted cash of Rs 8.82 crore from his Delhi house. DK Shivakumar was arrested by the ED on September 3 in a money laundering case based on a complaint filed by the tax department in September 2018 alleging hawla transactions and tax evasion.
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