Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday brushed aside the BJP’s allegation that his government was using the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) as a political tool against the opposition leaders, including state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa. He also asserted that the FIRs filed by the ACB against Yeddyurappa were based on merits.”I am not involved in filing the FIRs against Yeddyurappa. I have never played vendetta politics in my career. If I were to do so, I would have done it long back, isn’t it? Hence, the FIRs filed against him are based on facts and evidence,” Siddaramaiah said.
He was speaking after paying floral tributes to former chief minister D Devaraj Urs on his 102nd birth anniversary. The chief minister also wondered that if, according to the BJP, the FIRs against Yeddyurappa were a result of political vendetta, then how would the saffron party describe the IT raids on state minister D K Shivakumar’s properties.
Various properties linked to the energy minister were raided by the Income Tax department during the stay of a number of Gujarat Congress MLAs in a resort here, to avoid alleged poaching attempts by the BJP to defeat Ahmed Patel, the political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, in the recently-concluded Rajya Sabha polls in that state.
The Congress, however, had the last laugh when Patel won the third Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat. Siddaramaiah also questioned the need for Yeddyurappa to move the Karnataka High Court, seeking quashing of the ACB proceedings against him, if there was no substance in the FIRs.
Yeddyurappa had yesterday filed a petition in the high court, seeking quashing of the ACB proceedings against him in a land denotification case. He has been accused 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 Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) committee’s approval, when he was the chief minister between May, 2008 and July, 2011.
Two FIRs had been filed against the former chief minister, based on a complaint from the members of the ‘Jana Samanya Vedike’, a social organisation. In his petition, Yeddyurappa alleged that the ACB was being used to target the opposition leaders in the state, “in retaliation” to the IT raids at Shivakumar’s properties.
He also alleged that the FIRs against him were a result of “political vendetta and mala fide intentions”. The BJP leader also contended that there was no question of any denotification of land by him since the entire land acquisition was quashed by the high court in 2014.
The 2014 order, however, was dismissed by the high court on April 28, 2017, on a review petition. Earlier in the day, the Karnataka BJP staged a protest here and demanded Siddaramaiah’s resignation for “misusing” the ACB by forcing it to file “false” cases against the opposition leaders.
BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje attacked the Congress government for “weakening” the institution of Lokayukta by creating the ACB, which is controlled by the chief minister. Former deputy chief minister R Ashok alleged that the FIRs against Yeddyurappa were politically motivated. Yeddyurappa became the first chief minister in south India to step down while in office, following corruption charges against him.
He has recently been named as the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for the 2018 Karnataka Assembly polls.