ED summons Belagavi MLA Laxmi Hebbalkar over business links with DKS


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Published: 19/09/2019

by www.belgaumonline.com

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Belagavi Rural MLA Laxmi Hebbalkar, a close associate of beleaguered Congress leader DK Shivakumar, has come under the Enforcement Directorate scanner in connection with money-laundering cases filed against him. Hebbalkar, who has been served a notice, has been asked to appear before the agency on September 19 in New Delhi. 

Sources said, “The ED will question her about a sugar factory in which she is a director and her other businesses in Belagavi, some of which are Shivakumar’s alleged benami properties. While questioning Shivakumar and his associates Sachin Narayan, Sunil Kumar Sharma, Anjaneya Hanumanthaiah and N Rajendra, the ED has learnt that Hebbalkar had reportedly visited the Safdarjung Enclave flat from where the Income Tax officials had seized around Rs 6.68 crore during raids in August 2017. 

Prepared to face inquiry, says Laxmi

In all, the I-T department had claimed to have seized over  Rs 8 crore from three flats in Safdarjung Enclave. Shivakumar has consistently denied knowledge about the cash in the flat.
Speaking to TNIE on Tuesday, Hebbalkar said, she will report to the ED authorities and is prepared to face the inquiry. Strongly backing Shivakumar, she added, “he is not guilty in the case” and that “he will get a clean chit.”

She said the ED, in its first notice on September 12, had asked her to attend an inquiry on September 14. “Since I was not feeling well, I requested the ED to postpone the date of inquiry by a few more days. Being a woman, I appealed to the ED to consider my request. Later, the ED rescheduled my inquiry for September 19,’’ she said.

While claiming that there was scope under ED rules to question her at her residence itself, instead of the agency office in New Delhi, Hebbalkar said she was still not aware about where she will be questioned. According to sources, 184 associates linked to various businesses of Shivakumar, including Hebbalkar, are expected to be questioned in connection with the case.

Laxmi Hebbalkar has been associated with her political mentor Shivakumar for the last two decades. Shivakumar brought Hebbalkar into the big league in politics and played a key role in her victory in the last assembly polls. From being the president of Belagavi District Congress Committee (BDCC),  Hebbalkar went on to become MLA of Belagavi South. 

She also contested two Lok Sabha polls as Congress candidate from the Belagavi seat, many believe, sidelining several top leaders of the party, thanks to her proximity to Shivkumar.In the last few years, Hebbalkar not only launched Harsha Sugars, but also set up a solar power plant in Belagavi district with huge investment. The I-T department had conducted simultaneous raids on the residences and officesof Hebbalkar and now disqualified MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi on January 19, 2017.

 According to sources, Jarkiholi and Hebbalkar had jointly invested in Harsha Sugars, but Jarkiholi had opted out due to differences that cropped up between them. Since then, Jarkiholi has been at loggerheads with Hebbalkar. Split into several teams, IT officials from Bengaluru, Goa and Hubli had raided the palatial bungalow of Hebbalkar at Kuvempu Nagar in Belagavi besides her offices in the city. 

Her entire family was in the house throughout the day as officers verified records pertaining to her assets, including Harsha Sugars in which she had reportedly invested crores. According to sources, the officers also verified records of several other of her properties.

Source: http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2019/sep/18/ed-summons-belagavi-mla-laxmi-hebbalkar-over-business-links-with-dks-2035310.html

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