Congress state president D K Shivakumar on Friday hit out at the BJP government in Karnataka for giving sanction to the CBI to prosecute him in a disproportionate assets case, calling it “vindictive”.
The High Court of Karnataka on Thursday dismissed the petition by Shivakumar challenging the sanction.
Shivakumar claimed that the government did not take the Speaker’s consent before giving the sanction nor did it take note of the Advocate General’s purported remark that his was not a fit case for a CBI probe.
“The vindictive BJP government has given permission for a CBI inquiry,” Shivakumar told reporters here. “The speaker’s consent should have been there. Even the advocate general has said that this is not a fit case for the CBI,” the former minister added.
Quoting the Advocate General, he said the Lokayukta or the Anti-Corruption Bureau could have investigated the matter. “But in order to torture me, the government has recommended it to the CBI. So I have appealed to the court,” he said.
After the HC rejected his plea, Shivakumar said he would approach the higher court.
On whether this was a “pressure tactic”, Shivakumar, who is seeking re-election from the Kanakapura constituency in the May 10 Assembly elections, said that was “obvious”.
“The BJP is harassing the opposition government be it West Bengal, Telangana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, or Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi,” he alleged.
Following a request by the CBI, the State government had given sanction to prosecute Shivakumar on September 25, 2019, based on which it had filed an FIR against him on October 3, 2020.
The state Congress chief had challenged both the sanction and the FIR in two separate petitions before the high court. Earlier this week, the HC reserved its judgment on the petition challenging the sanction. On Wednesday, it adjourned the hearing of the other petition challenging the FIR to May 30. On Thursday evening, the single-judge bench of Justice K Natarajan dismissed the petition challenging the sanction.
The Income Tax Department had conducted a search and seizure operation in the offices and residence of Shivakumar in 2017. Based on the operation, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) started its own probe against him. Based on the ED investigation, the CBI sought sanction from the State government to file an FIR against him.
Shivakumar had challenged the sanction on the grounds that it was a politically motivated FIR, and three earlier FIRs had already been filed against him in relation to disproportionate income.
Since he was an MLA, the permission of the Speaker of the Assembly had to be obtained which was not done in this case. Also, the government did not mention the reasons for granting the sanction to prosecute, Shivakumar said.
The CBI had objected to Shivakumar’s petition in court, stating that the accused could not demand which agency should conduct the investigation against him. It argued that since the CBI was enacted under a special act, there was no need to mention the reasons to grant sanction for prosecution.
The CBI claimed that 90 per cent of the investigation was complete, and also submitted a status report to the court. Since it is a special case related to disproportionate income, the petition was sought to be dismissed.
Shivakumar has been charged under Section 13(2), Section 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)