Karnataka Guv and CM spar over land scams
The war of words between Karnataka Governor H R Bharadwaj and Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa escalated on Friday with the former refusing to buckle under pressure of the state cabinet and drop a petition seeking the CM's prosecution in land scam cases.
Bharadwaj wrote a strongly worded letter to Yeddyurappa telling him that the resolution passed by the state cabinet asking the governor to refrain from granting sanction to prosecute the chief minister in land scams and corruption cases was ‘unwarranted’.
“The sum and substance of the Cabinet decision is it simply requires me to put a lid on the serious allegations of corruption against you,” he stated in the letter.
“The Governor is entitled to and required to take an independent decision on the basis of the material available and therefore the Cabinet decision recommending to drop the consideration of the petition itself is unwarranted,” Bharadwaj said.
Quoting a Supreme Court ruling, the Governor said democracy would be at stake if sanction to prosecute higher functionaries is refused despite the fact that a prima facie case is clearly made out.
“It would then lead to a situation where people in power may break the law with impunity, safe in the knowledge they will not be prosecuted as the requisite sanction will not be granted,” he said.
Advocates Sirajin Bhasha and K N Balakrishna had earlier sought sanction from the Governor to approach a Special Court against state functionaries. The duo had submitted documents running into 1,700 pages and claimed the papers establish over 100 cases of nepotism, misconduct and corruption by Yeddyurappa, his two sons and some cabinet colleagues, including Home Minister R Ashok.
The chief minister, on the other hand, sought an apology from Bharadwaj for making certain remarks on the cabinet resolution. The governor had described the resolution as “ulta chor kotwal ko dante (the thief admonishing the law enforcer)”, evoking sharp protests from the BJP.
Bharadwaj’s statements have ‘lowered the dignity of the chief minister, the entire cabinet and thereby the voters’, Yeddyurappa said.
The remarks also prompted BJP to launch a fresh campaign to oust Bharadwaj; a strategy to which was discussed in a BJP core committee meeting. During the meeting, Yeddyurappa is also learnt to have played his ‘I am indispensible’ card before the BJP once again to win the party’s backing by threatening to topple the government in case he is prosecuted and asked to step down.
“There is a need to take certain decisions. I have called a cabinet meeting tomorrow,” Yeddyurappa said, hinting at his cabinet mulling over a resolution demanding immediate recall of the governor.
A delegation of BJP central leaders and MPs from the state, plans to meet President Pratibha Patil, seeking the governor’s recall on January 24. BJP had been accusing Bharadwaj of acting like a ‘Congress agent’ after he entered into spats with the saffron party over governance and corruption in the state.
BJP leaders had also charged the governor with attempting to de-stabilize the government and had demanded his removal.