Bengaluru: After ED denied exemption to the Congress leader D K Shivakumar from his appearance before it on Monday in view of Ganesha Chaturthi festival, he shared a word of regret over not being allowed to pay his respects to his late father during the occasion.
"I was supposed to pay my respects to my father and perform some rituals today, but these people wouldn't even let me do that. But I have come anyway, for the sake of the people and my party," Shivakumar told local media channels, his voice breaking with emotion.
The 57-year-old leader and his party have repeatedly alleged that he is being framed by the ruling BJP.
"I am cooperating with the probe although I haven't taken a single rupee or committed a crime. Still, today is an auspicious day. My father gave me life, and I wanted to pay my respects to him. But neither the BJP nor the Enforcement Directorate is allowing me to do this. I hope their souls find peace," said Shivakumar, who has gained repute as one of the Congress' main troubleshooters.
Shivakumar on Monday appeared for the third time before the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the alleged money laundering case involving funds of up to Rs 7 crore. The summons came a year after the probe agency registered a case against the Karnataka politician and four of his business associates under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
On Sunday, Janata Dal Secular (JDS) leader H D Kumaraswamy criticised the Enforcement Directorate for forcing Shivakumar to appear before it at a time when the entire country was celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi. "Gowri Ganesha is an important festival for Hindus. Mr @DKShivakumar had asked for a day to observe the festival. However, ED officials denied him even this. If this is not vindictive attitude, then what is?" he tweeted.
The former chief minister, however, said that Shivakumar has the strength to withstand whatever the BJP government throws at him. "Vindictive politics has become the order of the day. Opposition leaders are easy victims of power misuse. In public life, we need to be strong and face baseless allegations and conspiracies. I'm sure DK Shivakumar is strong enough to face this vindictive agenda against him," he tweeted.
Kumaraswamy used to head the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka before a spate of lawmaker resignations caused its collapse in July. Shivakumar has always been a strong advocate of opposition unity against the BJP government at the centre.