The Congress on Sunday demanded the resignation of Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa over allegations of corruption against his family members. The Congress has also sought a judicial inquiry in the matter.
“The BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] government generally and the BJP government in Karnataka in particular is engulfed in the clutches of corruption with dented, tainted leaders ruling the roost,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said. “If the BJP has the minutest sense of shame, if the chief minister has the slightest sense of shame, he must resign or be sacked even as we speak.”
Singhvi said that the matter pertains to the Rs 662-crore construction of an apartment project in Bengaluru, and claimed that media reports have “disclosed direct involvement of close relatives like son, son-in-law and grandson in corruption and bribery in connection with the project”. He added that 95% of the details of the alleged corruption are on tape, WhatsApp chats and print media reports.
Singhvi cited a WhatsApp conversation between a close relative of Yediyurappa and another party involved in the construction of the apartments and claimed that the conversations show that the contractor paid a bribe of Rs 12 crore to the Bengaluru Development Authority commissioner. The Congress spokesperson further said that an additional bribe of Rs 12 crore was demanded as the earlier one had allegedly “vanished”. He added that this additional bribe was paid through shell companies in Kolkata. Media reports showed that two companies, whose director is Yediyurappa’s grandson, received Rs 5 crore from shell companies in Kolkata. The reports allege that the money was a “quid pro quo” for obtaining government clearance for the construction of the apartments concerned.
Yediyurappa’s grandson Shashidhar, however, refuted the allegations and claimed the money was “working loans for a project” for which all documentation has been provided.
“Why are the son, son-in-law, and the grandson of the Chief Minister in different places to recover the money back which has alleged to be bribe money and has vanished?” asked Singhvi.
“The most remarkable and virtually admitted allegations of unabashed corruption and we don’t even find a criminal investigation, much less a sitting judge Supreme Court judge or High Court judge inquiry,” Singhvi said. He demanded invoking the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and that the allegations are looked into by sitting Supreme Court judge or a sitting Chief Justice of a High Court.
At Sunday’s press conference, the Congress spokesperson also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not speaking on the matter, saying that his silence was “incriminatory”.
He asked if the chief minister has a “very special leverage” over Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, which gives him special immunity.
Last month, Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah had made the allegations against Yediyurappa in the state Assembly, reported PTI. However, the chief minister dismissed the charges as “baseless” and asked the Congress leader to prove them.