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Saturday, June 10, 2023

Congress Minister DK Shivakumar, implicated in IAS Officer’s Mysterious Death, now faces IT raids

Controversial Karnataka Congress MLA DK Shivakumar, who is also Energy Minister in the Siddaramaiah-led Government, was found tearing up incriminating documents when Income Tax officials apprehended him in a Bengaluru luxury resort owned by him during a multi-city raid on properties & business interests of the minister.

Incidentally, 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat are also holed up in the same resort at a time when people of Gujarat are grappling with severe floods.

DK Shivakumar is one of the several ministers in the Siddaramaiah cabinet who are under a cloud for corruption or abuse of power charges. He was inducted into the Karnataka cabinet in Jan 2014, just 6 months after Siddaramaiah himself had described him and another MLA as ‘tainted’ and had kept them out of his cabinet after winning the May 2013 assembly election.

Shivakumar was facing illegal mining and land scam related charges when he was inducted into the cabinet. According to media reports, the Congress high command had forced Siddaramaiah to accommodate Shivakumar.

Sonia Gandhi with DK Shivakumar

Shivakumar was also linked to the mysterious death of popular IAS officer DK Ravi in 2015. Although investigators concluded that the officer had committed suicide, the deceased’s family alleged political pressure as reason for the upright officer’s death.

DK Ravi was known for running a crusade against the illegal sand mafia in Kolar. While posted there, it is said that he had ‘heated’ run-ins with Congress leader and former Union minister KH Muniyappa and an independent MLA from Kolar – R Varthur Prakash.

A few months before his death, DK Ravi had taken over as joint commissioner of commercial taxes and was chasing builders in Bengaluru who had been evading taxes for years. Among the real estate companies he pursued were the Embassy Group, partly owned by then state Home Minister KJ George, Sobha Developers, which has close links with Congress MLA & Energy Minister DK Shivakumar, and real estate company Confident Group owned by Congress legislator SN Narayanawamy.

DK Ravi’s father in law had alleged that CCTV footages were deleted during investigation.

In 2016, DK Shivkumar got angry and stopped a performance of school children in Mandya who portrayed deceased IAS officer DK Ravi and Deputy Superintendents of Police MK Ganapathi and Kallappa Handibag as martyrs in a dance routine during Independence Day celebrations.

A file photo of Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah (Deccan Chronicle)

As part of the current Income Tax raids on DK Shivakumar, 39 locations linked to him were reportedly raided all throughout the country, which included cities like Delhi, Kanpur, Bengaluru & Doddanala – the scale shows that this was a carefully planned operation in the works for quite some time.

Tax officials have recovered Rs 5 crore in cash from his Delhi residence. Another 2.5 crores rupees has  been recovered from his Karnataka residence.

Congress has leveled allegations that the raids are part of a ‘witch-hunt’ against Gujarat Congress MLAs just before the Rajya Sabha polls where election of key Sonia aide Ahmed Patel is on the line. But in a statement in Lok Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has clarified that the target of the tax officials was only DK Shivakumar and not Gujarat MLAs staying at his resort. After the IT officers raided DK Shivakumar’s house in Bengaluru, he fled to the resort and was found tearing up documents when the IT team accosted him there. No Gujarat Congress MLA was questioned by the IT team.

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