Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday accused the BJP government of attempting to divert attention from the Covid-19 situation and flood-linked distress in parts of the state by using an investigation into the drug mafia in Bengaluru.
“The way the drug case is being handled and portrayed by the BJP looks like an evil attempt to divert public attention from Covid and flood mismanagement. BJP is trying to protect their own leaders in the drug case and defaming opposition party leaders,” Siddaramaiah, the leader of the Congress Legislature Party in the state Assembly, said.
Earlier this week, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had expressed his firm resolve to clamp down on the drug mafia through an investigation by the Bengaluru crime branch police, which has resulted in the arrest of Kannada film actors and a crackdown on several high-profile personalities from the party circuit in Bengaluru over the last 10 days.
“This is the first time in the country that strong action has been taken against drug usage. Drugs are causing harm to students and the youth,” Yediyurappa had said.
Siddaramaiah’s remarks on Friday came after some BJP leaders insinuated the role of his associate and Congress legislator B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan in the investigation after photos emerged on social media of the MLA in the company of one Shaik Fazil, who is currently being sought by the crime branch in connection with the probe.
“If the CM is honestly interested in addressing the drug issue, he should give full freedom to the police to investigate and ask his ministers, party leaders not to make false accusations against leaders from opposition parties,” Siddaramaiah said.
“Linking politicians in a case based on a photo with the accused is an unhealthy trend. There is no way to know the history of everyone participating in random ceremonies,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zameer Ahmed has denied any association with Fazil and has claimed that he has not met Fazil for over four years. The MLA has also filed a defamation case with the Bengaluru police against businessman Prashant Sambargi, who claimed that the Congress leader was seen in a casino run by Fazil in Sri Lanka in 2019 with Sanjjanaa Galrani — one of the actors arrested in the drug case.
Both Zameer Ahmed and Galrani have denied knowing or meeting each other.
Incidentally, the second actor arrested in the case, Ragini Dwivedi, had campaigned for the BJP in the Assembly bypolls held last year. The BJP, however, has denied any official association with Dwivedi since her arrest.
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