‘Hang me if Covid-19 scam allegations are baseless’: DK Shivakumar on BJP’s legal notice
Both Shivakumar and Siddaramiah have been alleging that more than Rs 2,000 crore has been siphoned off through hiking costs of medical equipment like ventilators, PPE kits, thermal scanners, sanitizers, gloves, mask as well as other devices purchased for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.Updated: Jul 31, 2020 19:46 IST
The Karnataka unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party issued legal notices to Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President DK Shivakumar as well as the leader of opposition in the assembly Siddaramiah, asking them to withdraw and apologize for baseless allegations of corruption in the purchase of equipment related to the treatment of Covid-19 patients.
Both Shivakumar and Siddaramiah have been alleging that more than Rs 2,000 crore has been siphoned off through hiking costs of medical equipment like ventilators, PPE kits, thermal scanners, sanitizers, gloves, mask as well as other devices purchased for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.
The notices were issued by on behalf of Karnataka BJP’s general secretary N Ravi Kumar by his lawyers. “The allegations made by you without any basis or material has also reflected badly upon all the members of the party who have strived hard in building the party and the government,” the notice read.
This it said amounted to slander and demanded that the allegations be withdrawn and an unconditional apology be tendered in the identical notices to the two Congress leaders alleged. Ravi Kumar alleged that wild allegations are being made without any material proof and attributed these to an internal game of one-upmanship in the Congress party.
“Even the numbers they mention vary wildly. First they said Rs 1,000 crore, then Rs 2,220 crore and later Rs 2,000 crore. The allegations are being made to just harass officials so that they are frightened and don’t make any purchases due to fears of wrong allegations. The government is ready to lay all documents on the floor of the house. However, we will not tolerate baseless allegations against our party and leaders,” Ravi Kumar added.
The Congress leaders have been alleging that the equipment purchased are sub-standard, that money has been paid to suppliers without the goods being received and that the goods have been purchased at above-market rates.
Reacting to the notice in Mangalore, where he is currently travelling and meeting party leaders, KPCC President Shivakumar said that his party was ready to furnish all documents ‘proving’ corruption if the government was ready to order a judicial enquiry into the whole purchases by a sitting judge of the High Court.
“If the allegations are baseless they can file a case against me and hang me,” Shivakumar retorted even as he repeated charges of looting in the name of Covid-19 care by the state government.