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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy orders probe into ‘bribery audio’ allegedly featuring BJP leader Yeddyurappa

Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy has set up a special investigation team to probe the two audio clips he released last week claiming that BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa was trying to poach a legislator from his JD(S).

india Updated: Feb 11, 2019 15:23 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
Kumaraswamy on Friday accused the BJP of trying to dislodge the Karnataka government as he released audio clips purportedly of opposition leader Yeddyurappa allegedly luring JD(S) MLA Naganagouda Kandkur with Rs 25 crore.
Kumaraswamy on Friday accused the BJP of trying to dislodge the Karnataka government as he released audio clips purportedly of opposition leader Yeddyurappa allegedly luring JD(S) MLA Naganagouda Kandkur with Rs 25 crore. (AP/File Photo)
         

Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy has set up a special investigation team to probe the two audio clips he released last week claiming that BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa was trying to poach a legislator from his JD(S).

HD Kumaraswamy on Friday accused the BJP of trying to dislodge the state government as he released the audio clips purportedly of opposition leader BS Yeddyurappa allegedly luring JD(S) legislator Naganagouda Kandkur with RS 25 crore and a promise of a ministerial berth.

He also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah of being directly involved in the alleged attempts to destabilise the eight-month-old Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government.

Also read: BJP’s gang of three is trying to topple the Karnataka government, says Congress

The president of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s state unit BS Yeddyurappa, on his part, dismissed the audio clips as “fake” and “a concocted story”.

The announcement to set up the SIT came after the Speaker of Karnataka assembly KR Ramesh Kumar asked Kumaraswamy to set up the team to probe the incident, news agency PTI said. Kumar also ordered that the probe should be finished within 15 days, according to news agency ANI.

The issue of alleged horse trading was brought up in the Lok Sabha as well when Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge repeated the charge during the Zero Hour in the House. Congress members, including Sonia Gandhi, staged a walkout but returned a few minutes later.

Union minister Sadananda Gowda demised the allegations and claimed that the infighting between the Congress and the JD(S) in Karnataka is no secret and that both parties are doing “fake activities”.

“All things uttered (here)... are false and far from the truth,” Gowda was quoted as saying by PTI.

In a tit for tat action, the opposition party in the state threatened on Saturday to release a video of Kumaraswamy from 2016 allegedly asking a ticket aspirant to pay him Rs 25 crore. The BJP also filed a complaint against the Karnataka chief minister.

The ruling coalition partners Congress and JD(S) have been accusing the BJP of trying to topple their government with various offers, including bribe in cash and ministerial berths, a charge the opposition party has rejected.

Read more: Audio tapes, bribery charges spice up Karnataka politics

Senior BJP leader Yeddyurappa said, shortly after Kumaraswamy released the audio clips, that he had not met anyone to woo Naganagouda and the charge against him was “far from the truth”. The BJP leader said he went to Devadurga, where Sharangouda claimed to have met him and recorded the conversation, to visit a temple and flew back to the city.

Yeddyurappa told reporters in the state capital that Kumaraswamy had “concocted” the story to hide his failures and inability to keep the JD(S) and Congress flock together. “It is fake audio... I have not met anyone. Kumaraswamy is trying to hide his failures. This is a drama,” Yeddyurappa said.

He said the HD Kumaraswamy-led government has lost the trust of the people and had “no moral right” to continue in office. “Kumaraswamy himself is a film producer. He is an expert in voice recording... Whatever the charge he has made is baseless,” Yeddyurappa said.

He also dismissed a claim by the chief minister that he had spoken in the audio about a “Rs 50 crore” offer to the assembly speaker. “I will retire from politics if it (the allegation) is proved... If I had spoken like this (about the speaker), if it is proved... I will resign as an MLA and quit politics.”

First Published: Feb 11, 2019 15:14 IST