Shivakumar engaged in hawala transactions, says I-T Department’s complaint

Under the scanner: A file photo of a building in New Delhi from where Income Tax authorities had seized cash in August 2017.  

Minister for Water Resources and Medical Education D.K. Shivakumar, along with two businessmen and a present and a former employee of the Karnataka government, had “engaged in transporting huge amount of unaccounted cash on regular basis through hawala channels”, the Income Tax Department has alleged in its complaint registered against them before the Special Court for Economic Offences here.

“As per the facts and analysis of the evidences, it is clear that accused number 1 [Mr. Shivakumar] has set up an extensive network of persons and premises across Delhi and Bangalore in order to transport and utilise unaccounted cash. It is pertinent to note here that an unaccounted cash amount of approximately ₹8.5 crore has been found and seized [during raids] from four premises in Delhi which are directly relatable to accused number 1,” the department has alleged in the complaint.

Summons issued

The Special Court, which took cognisance of offences on June 18, also issued summons to Mr. Shivakumar and the four other accused persons on the complaint presented by Special Public Prosecutor Jeevan J. Neeralgi on behalf of T. Sunil Gautam, Deputy Director of I-T (Investigations).

The two businessmen are Sachin Narayan (accused no. 2), who owns his business firms besides having partnered with Mr. Shivakumar in Zeus Constructions Pvt. Ltd. and Dollars Construction Pvt. Ltd., and Sunil Kumar Sharma (accused no. 3), who is the proprietor of Sharma Transports, which runs a fleet of luxury/passenger buses and provides transport services to various concerns/individuals on rental basis.

Anjaneya Hanumanthaiah (accused no. 4) is an employee of the Karnataka government, working as an assistant liaison officer in Karnataka Bhavan, New Delhi, and allegedly responsible for storing/handling unaccounted cash of Mr. Shivakumar in Delhi, the I-T Department has claimed.

Rajendra N. (accused no. 5), after retirement as a caretaker of Karnataka Bhavan worked for late Suresh Kumar Sharma, then proprietor of Sharma Transport, and now works under Mr. Sunil Sharma. He looks after immovable properties of Mr. Shivakumar and Mr. Sunil Sharma, the department stated.

Flats in Delhi

On five flats in Delhi where raids were conducted, the department had claimed that the “the object of purchasing these flats was two-fold, one was to entertain the guests of Mr. Shivakumar and the other was to store the unaccounted cash generated by the accused no. 1. Therefore, the cash generated by accused no. 1 in Bengaluru and other places used to be transported by accused no. 3 [Mr. Sunil Sharma], stored in the flat, which in turn used to be distributed to various sources as directed by accused no. 1,” the department alleged.

Alleging that the entire conspiracy was hatched by Mr. Shivakumar, Mr. Narayan and Mr. Sunil Sharma for the purpose of evading tax, the department has stated that analysis of evidences shows that the Minister “has set up an extensive network of persons and premises across Delhi and Bangalore in order to transport and utilise unaccounted cash” and he has “involved in organised tax evasion as part of conspiracy by engaging others.”

In his replies to the department’s notices and during questioning, Mr. Shivakumar had either denied or gave evasive replies or raised legal and technical issues on the allegations. While Mr. Hanumanthaiah and Mr. Rajendra had admitted that the seized ₹8.5 crore belonged to Mr. Shivakumar, they retracted their statement after around seven months.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 9:36:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/shivakumar-engaged-in-hawala-transactions-says-i-t-departments-complaint/article24213289.ece

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