The High Court of Karnataka on Monday granted anticipatory bail to five persons, including former personal assistants (PAs) to Minister D.K. Shivakumar and his brother D.K. Suresh, in a case related to alleged illegal exchange of demonetised notes to new currency in November 2016.

Justice Sreenivas Harish Kumar passed the order while allowing petitions filed by B. Padmanabhaiah and S. Sheshagiri, who were a former PAs to Mr. Suresh and Mr. Shivakumar, respectively, Shivananda, who was working in the election cell of Kanakapura Taluk Panchayat, Padmarekha S., daughter of Sheshagiri, and Thimmaiah, secretary, Ramanagara District Congress Office.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2017 registered a criminal case against B. Prakash, the then chief manager of Corporation Bank, Ramanagaram, for allowing illegal exchange of Rs. 10.48 lakh on a single day, on November 14, 2016 without any legal voucher and later creating forged documents along with the petitioner-accused persons.

The High Court granted bail as the petitioner-accused had appeared before the investigating agency seven times and cooperated with the probe. The Special Court for CBI cases on June 29 rejected their plea for anticipatory bail.

The CBI has alleged that the key accused allegedly generated 120 fake voter IDs, with the help of Shivanada and Nanjappa, who were working at the election cell of Kanakapura TP, using login card and electoral registration officers’ facsimile signature, stamp, etc. It has been alleged by the CBI that the accused also used 130 driving licenses, allegedly possessed unlawfully by another accused Mahadevaswamy, owner of Aragini Motor Driving School, Kanakapura, for this purpose. The CBI has alleged that fabricated vouchers were signed by Sheshagiri, Padmarekha and Thimmaiah. The CBI had raided the premises belonging to Padmanabhaiah, Sheshagiri and others by registering an additional FIR in May.

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