Karnataka elections: Congress asks EC to disqualify BJP candidate Sriramulu, cites sting video
Two days ahead of Karnataka elections polling, Congress released 2 sting videos allegedly showing B Sriramalu and G Janardhana Reddy negotiating a bribe to a relative of a former chief justice of India to influence a verdict in a mining case.Updated: May 11, 2018 14:38 IST
The Congress on Friday petitioned the Election Commission demanding that BJP candidate B Sriramulu be disqualified from contesting the Karnataka assembly election over a ‘sting’ video allegedly showing him trying to a bribe a former chief justice of India’s relative.
A delegation of senior Congress leaders, including Kapil Sibal, Mukul Wasnik and Randeep Surjewala, met Election Commission officials and presented a memorandum, which also demanded that the chief electoral officer in Karnataka be directed to lift the ban on the airing of such videos by local television channels.
“We have requested the Election Commission to disqualify B Sriramulu from contesting the election,” Sibal told reporters after the meeting.
On Thursday, the Congress released two videos, dating back to 2010, allegedly showing Sriramulu and mining baron G Janardhana Reddy negotiating a bribe to a relative of a former chief justice of India to influence a verdict in a mining case.
The videos also appeared on a local channel in Karnataka. Later, state electoral authorities directed channels not to air the videos.
The sting videos purportedly show conversations between Sriramalu, a former CJI’s son-in-law and Reddy.
Sriramulu, a confidant of the tainted mining baron and his brothers, is contesting from two constituencies Molakalmuru and Badami in the assembly polls tomorrow.
In Badami, he is pitted against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
“We humble and respectfully seek directions from the Commission to take all such actions as may be necessary and required in law and direct immediate barring/disqualification of B Sriramulu from contesting Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018,” the memorandum from the Congress stated, citing violation of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
According to Sibal, the clear evidence relates to “corrupt practices”, including attempting to bribe a judge.
Seeking directions to the state’s electoral authorities to lift any injunction on the Kannada television channels or other media from showing and playing the tapes, the Congress delegation also urged the poll panel to take actions necessary in law for holding a free and fair election in Karnataka.
The memorandum said they were compelled to bring to the attention of the Election Commission, “significant and shocking evidence”, released by the Kannada media on the evening of May 10, 2018, which clearly disqualifies Sriramulu as a candidate.
“It warrants immediate exercise of the EC’s constitutional powers under Article 324 of the Constitution of India. The evidence gives rise to serious questions and allegations about certain heinous and deplorable criminal activities being indulged in by BJP’s candidate B Sriramulu...,” the memorandum said.
The Congress has been criticising BJP and the prime minister for their decision to give tickets to eight persons from the Reddy “camp”, including Reddy brothers G Somashekara Reddy and G Karunakara Reddy.
First Published: May 11, 2018 14:20 IST