Several BJP leaders in Karnataka on Sunday demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for “misusing” the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) by forcing it to file “false” cases against opposition leaders, including B S Yeddyurappa, the state unit chief of the saffron party.
Those who demanded the chief minister’s resignation included former deputy chief minister R Ashok and MP Shobha Karandlaje. Speaking to reporters, Karandlaje attacked the state government for “weakening” the institution of Lokayukta by constituting the ACB, which is controlled by the chief minister.
“The ACB is not an autonomous body in its true sense. It takes directions from the chief minister and Siddaramaiah is using it to target the opposition leaders by foisting false cases against them,” she alleged. The ACB had recently filed FIRs against Yeddyurappa, accusing him of de-notifying 257 acres of land from a preliminary notification of 3,546 acres, meant for the formation of the Dr K Shivaram Karanth Layout, “bypassing” the de-notifying committee’s approval, when he was the chief minister between May, 2008 and July, 2011.
Karandlaje alleged that the FIRs were filed “in retaliation” to the Income Tax raids at minister D K Shivakumar’s property, during the stay of a number of Gujarat Congress MLAs at a resort in Bengaluru.
She also condemned the ACB for putting pressure on the then special land acquisition officer of the Bengaluru Development Authority, H Basavarajendra, to “frame” Yeddyurappa. In a letter to Governor Vajubhai Vala, the officer had alleged that the ACB was putting pressure on him to give a statement against Yeddyurappa. He had also claimed that he was named as an accused in the case because he refused to do so.
In a counter to his allegations, the ACB had released a statement, saying it was a feeble attempt by Basavarajendra to build a false defence. Ashok said the officer’s complaint proved that the FIRs against Yeddyurappa were politically motivated.
Yeddyurappa is the first chief minister in south India to step down while in office following corruption charges. He has recently been named as the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for the 2018 Karnataka Assembly polls.