He IS the one who got away. As the Congress worked hard to protect its 78 Karnataka MLAs from poaching, Anand Singh of Vijayanagara in Bellary remained incommunicado. While sources in the Congress claimed they were in touch with his family, Singh, who runs a mining business and was arrested by the CBI, was not seen with the party through Thursday.
He was absent at the Congress and JD(S) MLAs protest Thursday against BJP Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in. JD(S) CM candidate H D Kumaraswamy told reporters: “For two days, BJP has been pressuring Congress and JD(S) MLAs. This morning, I got information about Anand Singh. They are utilising the ED (Enforcement Directorate) to take his support.”
Congress MP D K Suresh agreed: “All MLAs are here except Anand Singh; he is in clutches of Narendra Modi,” he said. Sources in the Congress said they had tried to get in touch with Singh. “We have not been able to reach him, but a relative of his is with us at the resort,” said a senior leader. Later in the day, Singh was not among the MLAs who left aboard buses for Kochi.
Singh, 47, had quit the BJP earlier this year citing internal struggles. He joined the Congress and campaigned across Bellary, where he wields clout. He declared assets worth almost Rs 150 crore in his poll affidavit.
He was arrested by a Lokayukta special investigation team on allegations of illegally selling 17,086 tonnes iron ore to a firm called Muneer Enterprises. A mining lease he held was also allegedly used by a group linked to Janardhana Reddy to access dormant lease areas, according to later CBI investigations.
Though considered part of the illegal mining operations in Bellary between 2008 and 2011, Singh did not hit the CBI’s radar till 2013. The CBI case against Singh is currently in the trial stage.