Will Bangalore Palace Grounds land deal haunt Shivakumar?
New Delhi: The ongoing investigation into the assets and transaction of Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar (DKS), who is at present lodged in Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody, has thrown light on a property deal between one Shashikumar, a relative of DKS and late Vishalakshi Devi of the erstwhile Mysore royal family.
Vishalakshi Devi, the youngest sister of late Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, passed away last year on Oct. 19, on the day of Vijayadashami.
When the ED was seeking Shivakumar’s custody for 14 days on Sept. 4 before special CBI Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar, Additional Solicitor General K.M. Nataraj — who was representing the ED — observed that Shivakumar had to be confronted with voluminous incriminating materials and other crucial aspects such as source of the money and his further interest in the other properties and accounts.
The Additional Solicitor General said that Shivakumar made an unexplained investment through benami property of Vishalakshi Devi and the source of the Rs. 4 crore has not been categorically established.
The Income Tax (I-T) Department, which had conducted a series of raids on D.K. Shivakumar (DKS), has revealed that he entered into a deal to buy a 5-acre parcel of land in Bengaluru’s sprawling Palace Grounds in June 2017. I-T officials said they have documents that reveal Shivakumar allegedly used two persons, including Shashikumar, as a front to purchase part of the land belonging to Vishalakshi Devi.
Who is Shashikumar?
I-T officials passed the Provisional Order of Attachment of five acres under Section 24 (3) of the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, rented out on June 28, 2017 to Shashikumar out of 28 acres of Palace Grounds belonging to Vishalakshi Devi. Shashikumar is the husband of Shivakumar’s wife’s sister.
Vishalakshi Devi challenged the provisional order of attachment before the High Court which said the property will continue to be attached till the petition is considered and disposed of. This was after the I-T Department filed the statement of objections to Devi’s petition. It said that an MoU and agreement, both dated June 28, 2017, were entered into by Vishalakshi with Shashikumar. The transaction was held two months before the I-T raid on Shivakumar.
Rs. 4 crore in cash, Rs. 1 crore in cheque
The I-T Department claimed that Vishalakshi Devi, in a statement given on oath to authorities, had admitted receipt of Rs. 1 crore in cheque from Shashikumar and a sum of Rs. 4 crore in cash in connection with the agreement.
The cash component was delivered by Chandrashekar Sukhapuri on behalf of Shashikumar. There was no communication between Vishalakshi Devi and Shashikumar for the negotiation and the entire transaction was co-ordinated by Chandrashekar at the instruction of D.K. Shivakumar, the I-T Department said.
The I-T Department claimed that Chandrashekar had admitted that he paid Vishalakshi Devi Rs. 4 crore in cash, which he had received from Shridhar (Private Secretary to D.K. Shivakumar) and Shiv Shankar (Personal Assistant to Shivakumar), and the entire transaction took place on the instruction of Shivakumar.
DKS real owner of the land
D.K. Shivakumar has, however, denied that the cash belonged to him but claimed that the entire transaction was done by Sachin Narayan, who is one of his friends and an independent businessman. Sachin Narayan owned up to delivering Rs. 4 crore in cash from ‘his unaccounted income’ to Vishalakshi through Chandrashekar.
The I-T Department stated that Sachin’s claim cannot be accepted as he did not explain the source of the cash, and his owning up of payment was ‘an afterthought’. Pointing out that as both Chandrashekar and Shashikumar had not established any source of generating Rs. 4 crore, the I-T Department claimed that it is clear that Rs. 4 crore was provided by D.K. Shivakumar and the transaction carried out by Shashikumar was for the ‘ultimate benefit’ of Shivakumar, who would be the ‘real owner’ of the five acres of land.