The Enforcement Directorate’s continued crackdown on corruption is giving sleepless nights to senior Congress leaders as the noose tightens around the grand old party with DK Shivakumar becoming the latest Congress leader to be arrested. In a bid to save face, Congress blamed the BJP for carrying out ‘vendetta politics’ by arresting its leaders. The assets of DK Shivakumar saw a massive spike in the 5 years of Siddaramaiah government in Karnataka where he served as the State Energy Minister. DK Shivakumar’s unaccounted wealth managed to surprise even the Enforcement Directorate as during their investigation they unearthed an undisclosed wealth of over Rs 1000 crore.
Comically, in his election affidavit, DK Shivakumar declared that he is an educationist and a social worker thus attempting to make a mockery of India’s democratic institutions. In his affidavit, he and his wife declared assets worth over Rs 730 crore while his daughter disclosed Rs 108 crore. While the richest ‘Social Worker’ of Karnataka, Shivakumar, claimed to possess assets worth over 618 crores and his wife Usha who, according to his affidavit, is a housewife and a landlady, declared assets worth Rs 112 crore. It seems that Shivakumar left no stone unturned to plunder wealth thereby draining the Karnataka Treasury dry during the tenure of the Siddaramaiah led Congress government in Karnataka, which is evident from the fact that during the 2013 elections, he declared assets worth Rs 215 crore which tripled to 618 crores by the time next elections came around in 2018. Shivakumar appears to believe in holistic development and is a thorough family man and hence, he even allowed his children to loot public money as if it was free for all. His daughter, Aishwarya, now 23 years of age, had declared assets worth Rs 1.09 crore in 2013 which swelled to Rs 108 crore in just five years. His brother DK Suresh, currently representing the Bengaluru Rural seat in the current Lok Sabha, saw his assets jump from Rs 85 crore in 2014 to Rs 338 crore in 2019.
Shivakumar has betted big on Real Estate and hence, possesses 22 agricultural lands having a market value of Rs 8.78 crore and own 20 non-agricultural lands which have a market value of Rs 481 crore. While he owns one commercial building in Ramanagara which is valued at Rs 1.06 crore and a whopping 55 Residential buildings valued at Rs 56.84 crore. He has used his various properties to facilitate multiple Hawala transactions. In total, Shivakumar, his wife and his daughter disclosed about 89 commercial and residential buildings, and about 26 non-agricultural lands. During the Income Tax raid on Shivakumar’s properties in 2017, unaccounted cash worth over Rs 8.5 crore was unearthed from the four apartments in New Delhi which are allegedly owned by Shivakumar. Anjaneya Hanumanthaiah and N Rajendra who allegedly stored cash in Shivakumar’s apartments on his behalf, in a statement (retracted later) admitted that one of the four flats in the National Capital purchased by Shivakumar’s close aide SK Sharma was frequently used to stash cash belonging to Shivakumar. Sharma’s transport business facilitated the movement of cash from Bengaluru and other places in the country to the Safdarjung flat and subsequent distribution to individuals on the directions of Shivakumar.
The Enforcement Directorate has the details of 317 bank accounts in 20 banks around the world and the combined accounts have over Rs 200 crore of money that is under the scanner for money laundering. The ED also claimed to have recovered documents of the alleged Benami properties of DK Shivakumar worth more than Rs 800 crore. The IT raids of 2017 unearthed unaccounted money worth 429 crores but ED’s investigation has unearthed wealth well above Rs 1000 crores. Unsurprisingly, Shivakumar was non-cooperative when he was quizzed about his Benami properties, which are worth Rs 800 crores, and the whopping 317 bank accounts. Shivakumar till date has failed to provide valid documents to account for the cash seizures and the documents found in his flats during the IT raids and the IT department suggested that payments were made to AICC functionary V Mulgund from the stash in the flats. The IT department further suspects that some cash was also allegedly sent to Congress headquarters through a cash mule and is certain that hawala operations had been underway for years.
While DK Shivakumar continues to argue that the probe by the central agencies is nothing more than a witch hunt, the mounting evidence and the scathing statements by his associates are likely to send him to jail for the remainder of his life. It has come to a point that it is futile to count the unaccounted assets and money that Shivakumar possesses which seems to be increasing every day and has already gone past Rs 1000 crore. DK Shivakumar has amassed over hundreds of crores of rupees in just 15 years and had the HD Kumaraswamy government not collapsed, his assets would have only continued to grow manifold while he robbed Karnataka of funds and development. Shivakumar has time and again emerged as the ‘Man Friday’ for the Congress and did not mind doing the party’s dirty work which earned him the tag of Congress’s troubleshooter-in-chief. It seems that the Congress’s troubleshooter desperately needs some troubleshooting himself but he has become too tainted for the Congress to defend for too long and it’s only a matter of time before the party dumps him especially given the fact that Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar are sworn rivals.