The Congress on Saturday demanded the resignation of Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai following the arrest of government officer Prashanth Kumar M V while accepting a bribe of Rs 40 lakh on behalf of his father, a BJP MLA.
More than Rs 8 crore unaccounted cash has been seized in subsequent raids at various locations by Lokayukta. The arrested officer’s father is Madal Virupakshappa, the MLA representing Channagiri constituency in Davangere district of the state.
The Congress started a poster campaign accusing the ruling BJP in the state of collecting 40 per cent commission on public works.
The party workers took out a mammoth rally to lay siege to the Chief Minister’s residence and raised anti-BJP slogans.
SEBI now looking to tighten FPI disclosure rules it was 'forced to dilute' to benefit Adani: Cong
Bommai accuses Cong of cheating people by trying to attach conditions to poll guarantees after coming to power
Cong to get 150 seats in Madhya Pradesh: Rahul Gandhi after meeting state leaders over poll preparedness
J’khand: Cong, CPI hold protests for ‘no invite’ to Prez at new Parliament building inauguration
Prior to the rally, former chief minister Siddaramaiah tore into the ruling BJP at a public meeting.
”It is not enough that you arrested Prashanth Kumar. If they have little shame, you should arrest the MLA Madal Virupakshappa immediately. Basavaraj Bommai should resign taking moral responsibility,” Siddaramaiah said.
The Congress stalwart claimed the BJP government has been lying to the people.
”Your government is plundering the state. Your ministers, chief minister and the chairman of various boards and corporations have been directed to collect a definite amount. According to me, BJP is set to spend Rs 100 crore in each constituency,” Siddaramaiah charged.
Alleging that in the byelections alone, the BJP had spent Rs 40 crore to Rs 50 crore, the former chief minister said the BJP wants to win the election through money power. He appealed to the people to teach the BJP a lesson in the next election.
Siddaramaiah slammed Union Home Minister Amit Shah for calling the previous Congress government led by him for using Karnataka as ”an ATM for a family”.
”You called my government an ATM government. Now, Mr Shah what will you say about this? Without any evidences, you make allegations but here we have a solid proof,” the former chief minister charged.
He said the Congress does not need to take any lessons from Shah.
The Congress leader said former CM B S Yediyurappa was removed from his position because he refused to allow corruption in the administration.
”You projected Yediyurappa as someone who sacrificed his life but the fact is that Yediyurappa did not agree to dance to their tune. You wanted someone who can toe the RSS line. You removed Yediyurappa and made him cry. Today, you are praising him only for votes,” Siddaramaiah said.
He also challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax department on the BJP leaders the way central agencies were used against the opposition leader.
”Is there any instance of the contractors’ association, unaided schools’ association and the pontiffs of various ashrams and maths writing to the Prime Minister that 40 per cent commission is being demanded? Enough is enough of your 40 per cent government,” Siddaramaiah said.
After the public meeting, a large number of Congress workers led by Siddaramaiah, Congress national general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala, Congress state president D K Shivakumar, former ministers Priyank Kharge and Krishna Byregowda took out the march to lay siege to the Chief Minister’s house.
They were later detained on the way by the police, who were deployed in large numbers.
The Lokayukta officials caught Prashanth Kumar, the chief accounts officer in the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, while accepting a bribe of Rs 40 lakh at the Karnataka Soap and Detergent Limited (KSDL) office from a contractor.
Lokayukta said Prashanth was collecting money on behalf of his MLA father Virupakshappa, who is the KSDL chairman. The deal was for Rs 81 lakh and the first instalment was paid to him.
Prashanth allegedly pestered the contractor, who had supplied chemical required for soap and detergent manufacturing, to cough up 40 per cent commission on the contract.
Further searches led to the recovery of more than Rs 2 crore from the office.
Intensifying their search operation, the sleuths raided various places belonging to the father-son duo, which led to the seizure of another cache of more than Rs 6 crore of cash, 4.4 kg gold, 26 kg silver ornaments, two luxury cars and investment details.
According to the Lokayukta sleuths, the legislator has 232 acres of land in Chitradurga district, 60 acres in Shivamogga district, 64 acres in Davangere and 52 acres in Vijayanagar.
Virupakshappa resigned on Friday from KSDL but maintained that he has been framed on baseless charges as part of a conspiracy against him.