The Madras High Court on Wednesday questioned Union minister Shobha Karandlaje why she had publicly claimed that those involved in the blast in Bengaluru’s Rameshwaram Café on March 1 were trained in Tamil Nadu, reported Bar and Bench.

On March 20, Karandlaje said: “People from Tamil Nadu come here [Bengaluru], get trained there and plant bombs here. They placed a bomb in the café.”

She made the remarks during a protest demanding the resignation of Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara after the attack on a shop owner in March for allegedly playing the Hanuman Chalisa, a Hindu hymn, during azaan, the Muslim call to prayer.

Karandlaje, a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, represents the Bangalore North Lok Sabha constituency.

On Wednesday, Justice G Jayachandran was hearing Karandlaje’s petition seeking the quashing of a first information report registered against her pertaining to the remark.

“You made the statement even before the NIA [National Investigation Agency] held searches in Chennai,” Jayachandran told the minister. “It means you are aware of the facts. You know who the trained persons are, who trained them, and what they have done.”

The court said that if Karandlaje had information regarding the blast, she should have disclosed it to the police.

“As a responsible citizen, the minister has not done it,” said the court.

Jayachandran’s remark came after advocate R Hariprasad, representing Karandlaje, told the court that the case against her was politically motivated. The Union minister had sought interim relief in the matter.

The court posted the matter for the next hearing on Friday.

Karandlaje’s remark had triggered a political uproar, with Tamil Nadu’s ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam filing a complaint with the Election Commission in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.

The party said that her remarks violated the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and the model code of conduct. The code is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission that political parties and poll candidates must follow while campaigning.

Following this, Karandlaje had apologised saying that her “words were meant to shine light, not cast shadows”.

In a social media post, she also said that she had retracted her remarks.

“Yet I see that my remarks brought pain to some - and for that, I apologise,” Karandlaje said. “My remarks were solely directed towards those trained in the Krishnagiri forest, linked to the Rameshwaram Café blast.”