Bengaluru: Ruling Cong-JD(S), opposition BJP demand probe into Audio Tapes

From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network

Bengaluru, Feb 11: For the first time both the ruling and opposition parties were unanimous in demanding a probe into the controversial audio tapes in which opposition leader in the Assembly allegedly claimed that the Assembly Speaker had been booked for Rs 50 crore for accepting the resignations of dissident legislators as part of the `Operation Kamala’ to topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition government headed by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.

When the issue was raised in the State Legislative Assembly, superseding all other subjects including debate on the motion of thanks to Governor VajubhaiVala and Karnataka’s budget for the year 2019-20 on Monday, Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar suggested to the Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) and sought a report within 15 days.

"This is not a direction. I am suggesting to the chief minister to form a SIT and ascertain the truth in the content of the video tape,’’ the Speaker said.

A visibly perturbed Kumar said: ``I have spent the last two nights in distress and I am in pain.’’

When the ruling JD(S) and Congress members said the person, who made the allegation was the Opposition leader B S Yeddyurappa, the Speaker said he was not sure of the authenticity of the voice. However, the ruling party men pointed out that Yeddyurappa had himself admitted that the voice in the audio tape was his.

"My apprehension is that someone who is a member of this House is in the audio clip casting aspersions on me,” the Speaker said recalling his childhood days.

The Congress demanded a comprehensive probe into the Opposition BJP’s attempt to topple the coalition government by poaching legislators of the ruling parties.

While the Chief Minister agreed to the suggestion made by the Speaker, BJP members opposed it saying that they do not have faith and confidence of conducting an impartial probe by the SIT constituted by the coalition government. The BJP demanded that the Speaker name his own inquiry committee.

Ramesh Kumar said the Chief Minister had sent a letter and CD containing audio clip where in a person holding a responsible and constitutional position alleged that the Speaker had been booked for Rs 50 crore.

The Speaker said, "A person holding a responsible and constitutional position made the charge. This is not witch-hunting, the truth to be probed.”

Appealing to the Speaker not to take the matter seriously, J C Madhuswamy (BJP) said since allegations were made against him outside the House it would not amounted to breach of privileges of members or contempt of the House.

Intervening in the debate, the Speaker said: ``You are defending the weak case.”

BJP members S Suresh Kumar, Jagdish Shettar, K G Bopaiah, K S Eshwarappa, P Rajeev and Govind Karjol wanted the Speaker to conduct the probe to end “loose talk” by some political leaders.

“We don’t have faith in the probe this government will conduct,” Shettar said.

Congress members including former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar RDPR Minister Krishna Byre Gowda, senior members H K Patil and Dinesh Gundu Rao as well as Tourism Minister Sa Ra Mahesh and A T Ramaswamy, both JD(S), said that the Speaker was the custodian of the House and the House cannot brush aside audio conversation levelling bribery charges against the Speaker.

They demanded that only total probe into two audio clips released by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on last Friday would help to nab the guilty.

Reposing faith on the Speaker’s clean conduct, Siddaramaiah said the message should go to the people and guilty should be punished.

Shivakumar said the Speaker should not take decision when he was emotionally charged. The reputation of the politicians was lowered these days owing accusations made against each other.

Dinesh Gundu Rao,Sa Ra Mahesh and Ramaswamy too supported the views expressed by the Congress members.

However, the Speaker appealed to Kumaraswamy to order a Special Investigation Team probe into alleged bribery charges of Rs 50 crore made against him as it was the Chief Minister who can order the probe. ``I do not have any separate or exclusive investigation agencies under my command,’’ the Speaker said.

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Title : Bengaluru: Ruling Cong-JD(S), opposition BJP demand probe into Audio Tapes


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