CBI challenge to K’taka govt’s no to DKS probe may inspire new legal precedent

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Bengaluru, Feb 4 (IANS) The Congress has successfully checkmated the CBI inquiry against Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister and party’s state president D.K. Shivakumar (DKS) in the disproportionate assets (DA) case.

The case was handed over to the Lokayukta after the state government’s withdrawal of the consent for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The matter, however, shows no signs of dying down, with the CBI challenging the state government’s decision in the Karnataka High Court and experts predicting that it is bound to reach the Supreme Court and become a landmark case.

Sources elaborate that, more than anything, political circles are following the development with regard to Shivakumar keenly as there is alleged personal enmity of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

BJP and JD(S) leaders in the state had categorically claimed that Shivakumar would land up in jail very soon. However, Shivakumar managed to get the cabinet nod to withdraw the consent of the state government for the CBI probe in the case at the time when the Central agency was preparing to file a charge sheet against him.

Presently, the Karnataka High Court has referred the petitions challenging the withdrawal of consent to a larger bench.

The case is first of its kind in the state and the enormity of legal issues required consideration by a larger bench, it said.

Shivakumar says: “They (BJP leaders) are taking revenge for my contribution to the election of Ahmed Patel to the Rajya Sabha. Ahmed Patel is not alive today but they continue to torture me. I know who is behind this but I will fight this out legally.”

Sources say that Union Home Minister Amit Shah “made a personal request to Shivakumar to prevent Ahmad Patel from getting elected to the Rajya Sabha. However, Shivakumar had sheltered Gujarat Congress MLAs in Bengaluru and foiled all attempts to poach them”.

They also claim that Amit Shah even narrated the “personal ordeal he suffered at the hands of Ahmad Patel. However, Shivakumar did not budge and told Amit Shah that Ahamad Patel was the tall leader of the party and he would back away. Ahmad Patel won the seat and Shivakumar landed in jail afterwards”.

Shivakumar calls the CBI probe against him a “vendetta politics”. He had earlier said that the BJP leaders were trying to finish him off politically.

The senior Congress leader had said: “There is not even a single case registered against me. The case was handed over to the CBI only to harass me. The current government has taken a decision to withdraw that permission and has handed over the case to Lokayukta.”

“The CBI has issued a notice to my family members, my institutions and my business associates. They have even issued notices to people who had done business with me 30 years ago. I don’t know what their intentions are. There are many such cases against many BJP leaders but no action has been initiated against them. There is a limit to how much they can harass. I know I have not made any mistakes,” he added.

The CBI had started a probe against Shivakumar over an alleged DA case in 2020 on charges that he had amassed properties worth Rs 74 crore between 2013 and 2018, which were disproportionate against his known sources of income.

The then BJP-led Karnataka government headed by B.S. Yediyurappa had handed over the case to the CBI. On November 28, 2023, the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government withdrew the consent to the CBI for the probe.

Talking to IANS, senior political analyst B. Samiulla said that the Shivakumar’s case has all the potential to become a milestone case. It is the first of its kind. The CBI can’t take up an investigation without consent from the state as per the Delhi Police Establishment Act.

Without the recommendation of the state government, CBI can’t be given a case.

The Lokayukta has not begun the probe yet. If it issues notice to Shivakumar in the case, it will be assumed that it has begun the probe and it would be seized of the matter. The Lokayukyta is headed by a retired judge, he added.

The matter is before the division bench, the CBI has to get clearance from the High Court before taking any action, Samiulla noted.

“Whatever would be the High Court’s ruling in the CBI’s plea against the state government’s decision to withdraw the consent, it is certain that the case will go to the Supreme Court. It is going to be a prolonged legal battle…,” he elaborated.

If the judgement comes in the state government’s favour, there is a possibility that other states too act in the same manner and withdraw consents given to the CBI to protect their leaders. “Hence, it is going to be a landmark judgment,” Samiulla said.

Samiulla further said that there is however a standing direction in the Supreme Court to initiate strict and strong action in cases of corruption. “There is a possibility of the apex court questioning the state on how it can withdraw the consent when the case was being inquired by the CBI.”

The Congress government had engaged Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Sighvi and the Advocate General to argue for Shivakumar while the CBI is also likely to engage reputed advocate K. Parasaran, who is credited for successfully arguing the Ayodhya title case or another counsel of the same stature, sources said.



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