Bengaluru: Congress on Sunday dismissed as “fake” the reported diary entries of payoffs to party leaders and alleged that the matter was raised to “malign” it.
Challenging the NDA government at the Centre to take action if they have any evidence, Congress termed the issue as a “conspiracy” against it, “at the behest of the Prime Minister’s office.”
“If it is true, we challenge the Centre to take action.
For 11 months you just sat on it…my information is that the investigation in this case was finished and the case closed.
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It has been reopened on the pressure by the Prime Minister’s office,” Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh said.
Speaking to reporters after the state Congress’ co-ordination committee meeting here, he charged, “If you (BJP) have facts, take action. But the fact is that it is fake diary…the fact is that it is being planted by the income tax authorities.”
A political slug fest has erupted in Karnataka over the reported diary entries by a political aide of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, indicating alleged payments to Congress central leaders by state ministers, with BJP demanding dissolution of the state Assembly and fresh polls.
Excerpts from the diary allegedly of Siddaramaiah’s Parliamentary Secretary K Govindaraju, made public by the media, showed a few acronyms similar to names of some Congress leaders and the amount in crores of rupees against them, which was purportedly paid or received.
The Income Tax department had in March 2016 conducted searches at the residence of Govindaraju, a Member of the Legislative Council, and seized several documents.
Govindaraju, on his part, had rubbished the charges of payments to Congress central leaders, and said he had nothing to do with the diary and the handwriting being shown by the media was not his.
Siddaramaiah, who had maintained silence since the excerpts from the diary were made public, today called it a “political conspiracy” by not only the state unit of BJP, but also the national BJP and the Union government.
“They want to malign our Congress party and want to damage the image of our government, but they cannot succeed,” he said.
Asked will this controversy hamper the party’s prospects in the Karnataka Assembly elections in 2018, Siddaramaiah said, “No, we will come back again in the coming Assembly elections. There is no doubt on that… there is no doubt in my mind. I am categorically making it very very clear that we will come back 100 per cent.”
In a counter attack, Congress Working President Dinesh Gundu Rao had yesterday released excerpts of a dairy allegedly belonging to BJP MLC Lahar Singh Siyora that showed payments made between state and central leaders of the saffron party.
Rejecting these charges, Siroya had said that he had never maintained any diary and his signature in the alleged documents was forged as it misspelt his name as Lehar Singh instead of Lahar Singh.