New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Friday asked the Enforcement Directorate to examine some relatives and associates of Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar, accused in a money laundering case, via video conferencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The high court said interest of justice will suffice if the petitioners, who are residents of Karnataka, join the inquiry.
Justice Yogesh Khanna asked the investigating officer (IO) of the case to share the time of video conferencing with the petitioners so that there is no inconvenience in joining it.
The court was hearing seven separate petitions by relatives and associates of Shivakumar challenging the summons issued by the ED seeking their presence here for enquiry as witnesses, at this stage.
The petitions were filed by Rajesh H, Gangasaran, Jayasheela, Chandra G, K V Lakshmamma, Meenakshi and Hanumanthaiah G.
Senior advocate Mohit Mathur, representing the petitioners, said the summons were issued in violation of provisions of the CrPC and contended that these are arm-twisting tactics because they are the relatives of the main accused.
He submitted that the petitioners will cooperate in the inquiry.
Central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan, representing the ED, said documents were earlier called from the petitioners but now their presence is being sought as clarification is needed in certain documents.
He submitted that the agency will not insist on the presence of appearance of petitioners till the next date of hearing, November 19.
Shivakumar, 58, a seven-time MLA in Karnataka, was arrested by the ED on September 3 last year under the PMLA. He was granted bail by the high court in October last year.
The ED had in September last year registered the money laundering case against Shivakumar, Hanumanthaiah — an employee at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, and others.
The case was based on a charge sheet (prosecution complaint) filed by the Income Tax Department against them last year before a special court in Bengaluru on charges of alleged tax evasion and ‘hawala’ transactions worth crores.
The I-T department has accused Shivakumar and his alleged associate S K Sharma of indulging in transactions involving huge amounts of unaccounted money on a regular basis through ‘hawala’ channels with the help of three other accused.