Siddaramaiah orders CID probe into bribery charge against N Chaluvarayaswamy
Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday said he has directed the CID to investigate the alleged complaint letter sent to Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot by assistant agriculture directors of Mandya district accusing Agriculture Minister N Chaluvarayaswamy of demanding Rs six lakh to Rs eight lakh as bribe.
Seven assistant agriculture directors allegedly wrote a letter to Gehlot recently complaining that the minister was exerting pressure on the officers and employees of the agriculture department through the joint director of agriculture to pay the bribe.
They even threatened to commit suicide with their families if such a “tradition” of demanding bribe is not controlled.
Accordingly, the Governor sent the letter to Chief Secretary Vandita Sharma to look into the complaint and initiate appropriate action.
While Siddaramaiah called it a fake letter and blamed the BJP and their ‘brother’, an apparent reference to the JD(S) leader and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, for “creating it”, he told reporters on Tuesday that he has ordered a probe.
“With regard to the purported letter written by the agriculture officers against the agriculture minister, it has been decided to conduct a CID (Crime Investigation Department) inquiry. The chief minister decided to hand over the matter to the CID after discussing with Home Minister Dr G Parameshwara,” the CM’s office said in a statement.
Earlier, in the day, the chief minister told reporters that he had ordered a police inquiry.
“I have told the police to inquire into it. Chaluvarayaswamy has called it fake because the joint director of agriculture has also issued a statement that it is fake and complained to the police. I have told the police to investigate and find out the truth,” Siddaramaiah said on the sidelines of an event.
After the Governor’s letter became public, Siddaramaiah posted on Twitter, “It has come out that the letter in circulation in public domain is fake. The Joint Agriculture Director has already clarified that no officers in the district have written such a letter.” Stating that he will get the matter investigated, he wondered whether the BJP was behind it.
“BJP leaders, are you the creator of such a fake letter spreading slander against the government or your brother?” he tweeted further.
Meanwhile, Kumaraswamy hit out at the chief minister for “supporting” the minister in a series of tweets.
“The shameless Chief Minister who justifies the disgraceful acts of the ministers, has descended upon the state. The ‘Siddha Kale’ (expert art) of justifying the extortion by the minister is disgusting and nauseating,” the JD(S) second-in-command said.
He sought to know if the letter was fake, will the Governor’s office “falsely” write to investigate it.
“Has the Governor responded to the false letter? Should the preachers of ‘Rajadharma’ suspect the sanctity of ‘Raj Bhavan’? This is no compliment to the self-proclaimed pseudo-constitutional expert,” Kumaraswamy said.
The BJP too lashed out at the Congress government in Karnataka.
The party state unit president Nalin Kumar Kateel tweeted, “The people of the state now have a ‘guarantee of corruption’. The ‘High Command’ has given a collection task to the ‘ATM Sarkara’. The ministers are putting pressure on the officials.” “Now it is Minister Chaluvarayaswamy’s turn. Was it instructed in the high command meeting to collect using officials?” Kateel sought to know.
He alleged that it has become the Congress strategy to call all the letters against them fake to mislead corruption cases.
“Now, by calling the letter against Chaluvarayaswamy fake, this government is insulting the dignity of Raj Bhavan and the Governor’s action,” Kateel alleged.