Amid graft charges, Congress seeks removal of Karnataka CM

Demand comes after ex-pollution control board chief claimed that he had paid bribe demanded by Yediyurappa’s kin

The Congress on Sunday demanded the removal of Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa after a former chairman of the Karnataka Pollution Control Board, M. Sudheendra Rao, claimed that he had paid a bribe of ₹9.5 crore of the ₹16 crore demanded by a relative of Mr. Yediyurappa.

The party also demanded a judicial probe by the sitting Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court and urged the Central agencies, including the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Income Tax (I-T) department to carry out “an exhaustive investigation and uncover the truth”.

Addressing a press conference here jointly with spokesperson Gourav Vallabh, senior Karnataka Congress leader Dinesh Gundu Rao said Dr. Sudheendra Rao, in a local TV channel, also gave details of how Mr. Yediyurappa’s family members, including son B.Y. Vijayendra, grandson Shashidhar Maradi and a close cousin Sanjayshree put pressure on him to give environmental clearances to companies that violated norms.

“They are using this position to loot, to plunder the State and this money is being re-channelised to fund their political ambitions, to fund the BJP and also probably to fund the national leadership of the BJP. Otherwise, why will the national leadership of the BJP keep quiet despite these blatant acts of corruption,” asked Mr. Gundu Rao.

Though the former Pollution Board chairman was appointed in December 2019 — the post has a three-year tenure — he was forced to resign by May 2020, the Congress leaders alleged.

Video excerpts

The party also played out video excerpts of the sensational claims made by the former Pollution Board Chairman to a local TV channel in which he claimed to have sold off his properties as well as gold and silver jewels belonging to his wife and daughters to raise the amount for the alleged bribe.

‘Oral threats’

“As per Dr. Rao, when things come to a flashpoint, the Chief Minister’s family begins the operation for removal of Dr. Sudheendra Rao by putting psychological pressure and even issuing oral threats. When he refuses to oblige, they manage to obtain his signature on a green sheet of paper ostensibly for submitting an affidavit before court in an official matter. Later when he is on a pilgrimage trip to Mantralayam in Andhra Pradesh along with his family, some ‘miscreants’ type out the resignation letter on the signed green sheet of paper obtained from Dr. Sudheendra Rao and submit it to Yediyurappa’s office who in turn accepts the ‘resignation’ with immediate effect,” the Congress leaders said in a statement.

Asking the CBI, the ED and the I-T to act, Mr. Gundu Rao said,”They should not be just lap dogs of the BJP, they should act independently … These things are in the notice of the BJP’s national leadership but they are not acting. They are not doing anything, the biggest question is ‘Why’?”

Source: Read Full Article