Congress legislator B S Anand Singh did not show up to the legislative party meeting held in Bengaluru, triggering speculations that he may rejoin the BJP in the event of the Karnataka assembly election results throwing up a hung house. While Congress MP D K Suresh said Anand Singh is “in clutches of Narendra Modi”, JD(S) chief H D Kumaraswamy said the Modi government is “threatening” MLAs. Congress leader Veerappa Moily, however, said Anand Singh is “safe”.
Anand Singh, former Karnataka Minister and two-time MLA from Vijayanagar in Ballari, quit BJP in January 2018 to join Congress ahead of the Assembly elections this year. He left the BJP saying there was “constant squabbling and bickering” in the party. Then Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had said Singh left BJP and joined the Congress as there was “no place for secular principles there”.
A leading businessman in the district with interests in mining, trade and hospitality sectors, Singh was the state tourism minister in the BJP government, which ruled the state from 2008-13.
Anand Singh is also one of the richest politicians of Karnataka with assets worth over Rs 104 crore. A car freak, he is stated to possess 25 vehicles, including Bentleys, Mercedes Benzes and Tata trucks. Singh wears two hats, that of an editor of a newspaper, Ananda Karnataka Daily and a mining baron.
Anand Singh was arrested in 2015 on charges of illegally transporting iron ore from Bellikere port in Karnataka. This was the second time that Singh was arrested in connection with the illegal mining scandal that rocked the then ruling BJP government in Karnataka. He was earlier arrested in November 2013 and lodged at the central prison in Bengaluru before he got conditional bail in March 2015. Anand Singh was in jail with Janardhan Reddy, the main suspect in the Rs 16,500 crore illegal mining scam. He was once a close associate of the Reddy brothers.
Other than this, Singh faces charges ranging from criminal intimidation, rioting to attempt to murder.
The illegal export of iron ore from Belikeri port in Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada district was exposed by former Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde, who in his report, had said 7.74 million tonnes of iron ore were illegally exported between 2006-2007 and 2010-11, causing huge loss to the exchequer.
— ANI (@ANI) May 17, 2018
Modi govt is misusing institutions of central govt. I know they are threatening MLAs. Anand Singh (Cong MLA) told ‘they are using ED, I had a case in ED & they are going to screw me. I’m sorry I have to protect my interest,’ another Cong MLA who spoke to Singh told me-Kumaraswamy pic.twitter.com/QrzW8eHeAR
— ANI (@ANI) May 17, 2018