Suspended Congress MLA Roshan Baig was on Monday detained in connection with the IMA Jewels scam when he was about to board a flight from the Bengaluru airport, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said. Baig was detained by the special investigation team looking into the ponzi scam.
Mohammed Mansoor Khan, the main accused, had claimed that Baig was involved in the scam and had taken Rs 400 crore from him but not returned it. Baig, who called the allegation baseless, was supposed to appear before the investigation team on Monday. The investigators asked him to come on July 19 instead after he sought more time.
Kumaraswamy claimed that a personal assistant of Bharatiya Janata Party state chief BS Yeddyurappa was present with Baig when he was boarding the chartered flight. Santhosh, the personal assistant, ran away while Baig was detained, the chief minister alleged. BJP MLA Yogeshwar was also present at the airport at the time, Kumaraswamy claimed, calling it “shameful” for the BJP to be helping a former minister escape.
“This clearly shows BJP’s direct involvement in destabilising the government through horse trading,” Kumaraswamy said, referring to his earlier allegations that the BJP was trying to get ruling coalition MLAs on its side to topple his government. Sixteen MLAs of the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) have resigned this month, and a trust vote is scheduled in the Assembly on Thursday.
Baig, the MLA from Shivajinagar, is under suspension from the Congress for alleged anti-party activities.
The BJP denied that Santhosh was travelling with Baig, and accused Kumaraswamy of “peddling fake news and misleading the state”. “It was only Baig who was travelling and there was no second passenger,” the party said. “We demand to check boarding passes and CCTV footage to put out the facts.”
The BJP also accused the chief minister of using the state machinery to save his government. “Roshan Baig was given time till 19th July to appear before SIT,” the BJP tweeted. “This shows how the state government is blackmailing and treating their own MLAs’ using the institutions.”
Mohammed Mansoor Khan had on Monday released a video claiming that he would return to India within 24 hours. Khan is accused of running a ponzi scheme in Karnataka that allegedly duped more than 30,000 people of Rs 5,000 crore.