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Saturday, April 10, 2021

Audio clip case: Karnataka HC allows probe against CM Yediyurappa for ‘trying to poach MLA’

Yediyurappa had earlier dismissed the audio clip as fake. He later admitted to the conversation, but blamed Kumaraswamy for conspiring against him using the complainant, Sharanagouda.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bangalore |
Updated: April 1, 2021 8:07:35 am
Karnataka BudgetYediyurappa, who was then Karnataka BJP president, had purportedly discussed the possibility of getting Sharanagouda’s father to join the party. (File)

The Karnataka High Court Wednesday permitted investigation against Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa in a criminal case registered against him for allegedly trying to poach an MLA from Janata Dal (Secular) with the offer of money and a ministerial berth, in 2019.

An interim order pronounced by Justice John Michael Cunha on Wednesday vacated the earlier order (dated February 2019) which had stayed probe into the case. Sharanagouda Kandakur, son of JD(S) MLA Naganagouda Kandakur, had allegedly recorded a conversation that took place between him and Yediyurappa at Yadgir Circuit House on the night of February 7, 2019.

Yediyurappa, who was then Karnataka BJP president, had purportedly discussed the possibility of getting Sharanagouda’s father to join the party, as recorded in the audio clip. Sharanagouda later lodged a complaint with the police, and FIR was registered against Yediyurappa.

The FIR also named two BJP MLAs — K Shivana Gouda Naik (Devadurga) and Preetham J Gowda (Hassan) — and a former journalist who was political advisor to Yediyurappa then.

Terming the incident ‘Operation Lotus’, JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy had released a couple of audio clips from the purported conversation between Sharanagouda and Yediyurappa. Kumaraswamy was then the Karnataka CM leading the JD(S)-Congress coalition.

However, Yediyurappa first dismissed the audio clip as “fake” and said Kumaraswamy was an “expert in voice recording”. He had even offered to quit if he was found involved in attempts to poach legislators or influence the Assembly Speaker.

Later, Yediuurappa admitted that such a conversation had taken place, but blamed Kumaraswamy for conspiring against him using Sharanagouda. “..Karnataka Chief Minister Kumaraswamy has indulged in third-grade politics by sending Sharanagouda to carry out a sting on me,” Yediyurappa had then said.

In July that year, 17 MLAs from the Congress-JD(S) coalition turned rebels, five months after the conversation. On July 26, 2019, Yediyurappa took oath as the 25th CM of Karnataka.

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