Widely known as the ‘Money Bag’ for the state Congress, DK Shivakumar has been accused of illegal granite mining and Forest Act violations
Whenever the Congress is in trouble in Karnataka, it turns to one man to get it out of the crisis. Whether it is herding its MLA’s whenever required, or hosting its legislators from other states too, DK Shivakumar is Congress’ Man Friday. As after the 2013 assembly elections, he was rumoured to be made the Deputy Chief Minister in the Cong-JD(S) combine too. Once a sworn enemy of the JD(S), he is today credited to have forged the alliance with the same party after the BJP emerged as the single largest party in the recent Karnataka elections.
A student leader during his college days, DK Shivakumar (DKS)’s rise to the corridors of power is fraught with allegations of hooliganism, corruption, illegal businesses, encroachment and tax evasion too. During the early 1980s, DKS was the General Secretary of the State Youth Congress. His entry into electoral politics was through the Zilla Panchayat elections in 1987. Later he contested from Sathanur near Kanakapura and won in his second attempt. He has been elected as an MLA seven times and served as the energy minister under Siddaramaiah between 2013 and 2018.
Before the 2018 elections, he had declared individual assets worth Rs. 618 crores and total family assets of a whopping Rs. 830 crores. During the 2013 assembly elections, he had declared assets worth 251 crores. This enormous increase in his assets has been credited to his interests in mining, power transmission, granite business, real estate and others.
His foray into the mining business and real estate is well known. However, the use of brute force and corruption to get his things done his way are the allegations DKS has been facing for decades now. In 2015, the High Court of Karnataka issued a notice to DKS and his family members in an illegal mining case based on a PIL filed by B.S Narayana Swamy of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and A.C. Shivaraju, a social activist. The PIL alleged that they were involved in illegal mining activities in Kanakapura and Ramanagara. The PIL also mentioned the involvement of a few granite mining companies which had links with DKS and his family. The petitioners stated that 1,44,139 cubic meters of granite blocks valued around Rs. 37.61 crore were illegally transported from Kanakapura and Sathnur forest ranges as per the probe reports. The petition also mentioned the crores of loss to the state’s exchequer due to illegal mining.
Again in 2015, former land taskforce chief AT Ramaswamy and other land activists protested and sought action against D K Shivakumar for his alleged involvement in the multi-crore Shanthinagar housing society scam. The activists alleged that DKS and his brother DK Suresh had grabbed 66 acres of land worth Rs. 3000 crore on the Bengaluru Airport road. The land was meant to be used for the Dalits and the poor. Dubbed as the Shanthinagar housing society scam, AT Ramaswamy had alleged that a fake society was floated which illegally allotted 154 sites to members of a single family and majority of the allottees were the relatives of DKS. It was also alleged that given the clout he enjoyed in the government, DKS arm twisted the Minister for Co-operatives HS Mahadev Prasad who later gave him a clean chit.
In 2017, it was revealed in a petition filed by Vishalakshi Devi, one of the five daughters of former Maharaja of Mysuru Jayachamaraja Wadiyar, who owns a portion of the palace property, that DKS was allegedly found to have indulged in ‘benami transaction’ of a portion of the Bangalore Palace property through his conduits in June that year. Though DKS denied the allegations, he was unable to explain the source of crores of cash received by his private secretary over the property deal.
Several real estate companies in Bengaluru have signs of involvement of DKS. In his election affidavits in 2013, it was shown that some of the top real estate firms had loaned him huge sums of money.
On 2 August 2017, DKS’s residence and office in Bengaluru were raided by the Income Tax Department in connection with tax irregularities. Eagleton Golf Resort in Bidadi, near Bengaluru and owned by his brother DK Suresh was also raided. Searches were carried out by 300 officials for a span of 80 hours in 67 locations across New Delhi, Bengaluru, Mysuru, Chennai and his hometown Kanakapura. It was revealed that the IT authorities had seized over Rs.15 crore in cash and jewellery from DKS’s residence in Delhi and other locations. When the raids on his properties and that of his relatives and friends ended, more than Rs.300 crore in "undisclosed income" had been found.
These are not all. Widely known as the ‘Money Bag’ for the state Congress, he has also been accused of illegal granite mining and Forest Act violations too.